Categorized | National News

Local Organizations To Protest WTO

A group of  local organizations and activists are coming together to protest against The Bahamas’ 2019 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), while calling on the government to put forth a referendum on the issue. 

The group calling themselves Bahamians Against WTO, said they will fight the government tooth and nail. 

During a press conference yesterday, the group of persons, with spokeswoman, Maria Daxon, said the WTO amounts to nothing but “a surrender of our birthrights as Bahamians.

“We  the inheritors of and successors to these  family of islands, are here today to put the government of The Bahamas on notice. 

“The goal and purpose being to halt and defeat this government’s objectives of submitting the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the World Trade Organization. 

“We contend that this nor any government of The Bahamas has the authority to surrender to any foreign body the power to govern our affairs without a mandate from the people to do so. 

“We stand here united in our defense of our Bahamian sovereignty,” Ms. Daxon said. 

The group, which comprises of persons such as Kendal Colebrooke, of Grand Bahama and Omar Smith, said that there must be a clearer understanding of what the WTO will do or not do for Bahamians.

“Here’s a question we need to ask the government: If the WTO is so good, how is it this is not in their Manifesto, how is it that they didn’t talk about this on their campaign trail?” Mr. Colebrooke said. 

Omar Smith added that Bahamians should look closely at the cause and effects of The Bahamas becoming a part of the WTO. 


“The government of The Bahamas is intent on taking this country into the WTO. Which average Bahamian knows what are the implications of us joining this organization? 

“They are out everywhere talking about the positives of this particular organization and us joining; what are the negatives? Why are they promoting this? 

“Did they run on this campaign? Did they run on this mandate? I say if they are so confident that this is so good, and the Bahamian people want it; then put it to the Bahamian people, let us decide.

Because once we join, there is no turning back,” Mr. Smith said.

Attorney Paul Moss and Samuel Strachan, along with the other group members are calling on the government to put the issue to a referendum. 

“The advent of the WTO will so fundamentally change every aspect of this country that it is imperative the government puts to the people a referendum on this issue. 

“We say that because we believe that this country is a democracy and the majority will rule. If the majority votes that that’s what they want, then we’ll have to go along with it. 

“But right now, this is not their mandate, they have no mandate to do this; this is what they are doing of their own and we say that it ought to be put to a referendum and that’s what we are going to hold them to,” Mr. Moss said 

Mr. Strachan suggested that the Free National Movement government is in breach of the contract that it was elected on. 

“There was a contract put forward by the FNM called Manifesto, and the majority of persons agreed to that;  so, we have a contract. There is no mention in that Manifesto on the aggressive accession to the WTO. 

“That means you are breaking your contract. What we’re asking the administration to do is, if you are going to vary in terms of the contract, return to the negotiation table, put your position forward, we discuss, we agree again or we disagree and we move forward. 


“You cannot, single handedly change or vary the terms of a contract without breaching that contract. You have breached your contract.  Either you return to the negotiation table or we expect your resignation forthwith,” Mr. Strachan said

The new year will see the group, who also made a clarion call to all Bahamians, march in protest on January 10, 2019.  

Pastor Glendon Rolle of the Peoples Foundation also made a clarion call to all pastors and churches to join in the march. 

The Bahamas reactivated and accelerated its accession to the World Trade Organization process in the latter part of 2017 after a six year break.

Tentative accession to the WTO is set for  December 2019. 


Written by Jones Bahamas

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