NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party National Vice Chair Patricia Deveaux has issued a public apology over her use of an ethnic slur at a rally on Tuesday night.
Deveaux, who was introducing former Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Michael Darville, said the PLP is comprised of “nice looking people” and not a “bunch of darkies all over the place, heating up the place”.
At the rally podium with a yellow baseball bat resting on her shoulder, Deveaux declared: “We have a real doctor coming out tonight. He is another light skin, handsome, curly hair fellow. You see we have plenty nice looking people here in this party. We don’t have a bunch of ‘darkies’ all over the place, heating up the place.”
The PLP rally was broadcasted on Facebook live.
Deveaux’s comments made the rounds on social media, with many expressing contempt at its prejudicial overtones.
In a statement yesterday, Deveaux said she is a “proud black woman” who has worked with the PLP for many years for the upliftment of all people.
She said she regretted the language used to introduce Darville, and did not intend to alienate and offend some members of her own race.
“I meant to suggest that the PLP is a party that embraces all, but I ultimately made comments that alienated and offended some members of my own race,” Deveaux said.
“I’m a proud black woman and have worked with the PLP for many years for the upliftment of all people.
“I sincerely hope the message of the rally, conveying the failed policies of the Minnis administration and its relentless onslaught against the poor and middle class in favor of the rich special interests, was not lost in my misstatements.”
She said: “I apologize unreservedly to the leadership of my party and to the Bahamian people.
“I hope that we can all move forward as Bahamians to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
In a separate statement, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said he had read Deveaux’s apology and was satisfied she dealt with the matter responsibly.
“It is now in the past,” he said.
“What is however important to both the PLP and the Bahamian people is to remain focused on the larger national issues such as the consistent delivery of poor governance and the miserable performance of the FNM that are the source and cause of much of the misery Bahamian families continue to suffer today.”
Davis cautioned the electorate against being distracted by what he called FNM “propagandists and social media trolls who seek to cast an excellent and invigorating public meeting of hope and inspiration in a negative light”.
He continued: “I again thank the Bahamian people for their overwhelming support and confidence reposed in the PLP by their great numbers last evening as we move forward. There is much work to be done on their behalf.”
On his Facebook page, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, who posted the viral video clip of Deveaux, said: “Self-hatred and playing the race card manifested as politics. Who would have thought?”
It’s not the first time racial comments have been placed under the microscope in the political arena.
Last July, Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) board member Bennet Minnis said the PLP is “one corrupt, stealing, no good, bastard, homosexual, African monkeys”.
The comments were made in a series of voice notes and widely circulated on social media.
Minnis doubled down when questioned on the matter, saying his remarks were in reaction to the PLPs presence at his late cousin Sir Henry Milton Taylor’s grave in Clarence Town, Long Island.
At the time, the opposition called for Bennet to be fired for the “abusive and inappropriate” remarks.
Government officials, including WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson, remained tight-lipped on matter.
FNM Chairman Carl Culmer also declined comment, only saying the PLP should “clean their own doorstep”.