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Screenshot 2018-11-22 at 5.09.44 AM

Irate Bahamians fed-up with high electricity bills among other things,  yesterday delivered on their promise by showing up in  a mass protest demonstration on Bay Street. 

Decrying the increasing cost of electricity in the country, along with  other vexing issues, the group marched to Bay Street from the headquarters of  Bahamas Power and Light on Blue Hill Road,   with flags and placards marked with the words,  “No Election Promise Kept,”  “BPL Bill Robbery,” “Stop BPL Scam,” “BPL are robbers and “Minnis is clueless.” The protesters   along the way chanted “Minnis got to go” and sang  the  Civil Rights Movement’s  anthem, “we shall overcome.”

“The prime minister of this country is doing everything other than what is in the manifesto, to me that is criminal because he deceived the people and he won a general election based on lies, propaganda and fake news,” said march coordinator “Queen Bee.”

“When we’re going to have a government take away from our children, deprive them of their school uniforms, we have a problem with that.

“When we’re going to have a government take away from the senior citizens the little food coupons that they are getting, we have a problem with that. 

“When we’re going to have a government have the white people in Lyford Cay send one letter to meet their demands and [obligations] and they honored that letter, we have a problem with that.

“We want this FNM government that we elected to this house, to end that OBAN deal immediately,” said co-coordinator Maria Daxon.

“Nothing was ever tabled as to how and what was the benefit for the Bahamian people,  that’s one of the proposal that we want them to do,” she added.

“We want them to reinstate the Removable Property Act; nothing with that benefits the whole entire Bahamian people,  only a select set of people are [benefitting] from everything this FNM government did since they went to parliament.

“I’m not here to baby those people in the House of Assembly, they [are] my slaves they [are] working for me,” said Queen Bee.

“I’m paying them and I’m not here to baby them up. Who do they think they are? 

“This is the second fiscal budget that we are in, [and] what is listed in this budget for the Bahamian people and our country, nothing not a damn thing,” she added.

“When you have a whole country that is hurting and that is angry,  what more do we expect for them to sit home and wait for the high electricity bill to reach, for them to sit home and wait for their children to starve…what do we expect? This is not a game this is reality.

“We are here to voice our demands,” she said.

“We [are going] to give them 10 days to address our demands, if they don’t we will be back to ask for the [entire] cabinet’s resignation.

“If they don’t do that we will be back again, but not here we will be to the AG.” 

Standing in solidarity with the group were FNM backbencher, Frederick McAlpine, former cabinet minister, V. Alfred Gray, DNA Deputy Leader Arinthia Komolafe and outspoken activist Rodney Moncur.

“This is the people’s parliament and this is about the people and I want to be here with the people,” said McAlpine.

“My political future doesn’t matter; the Bahamian people matter. If I have to take a choice between party and people, I’ll always chose the people,” he  said.

“After two years for us to be at this level,  I’ve never seen this degree of anger and frustration from the people so quick with a government, something is drastically wrong and practically every government organization is striking or attempting to strike or talking about striking. That is bad,” he continued.

“I often see this four years into election and it’s not even been two full years and this where we are at, this is deplorable, ” said Mr. McApline.

“I honestly expected this crowd and if Bahamians were as bold as Haitians are, there would be much more out here, because if you think only these people here are hurting, that’s a mistake,” said V. Alfred Gray.

“Every Bahamian is hurting and will be hurt more come January because everything is going to go up as of January, except salaries, and that disturbs me,” he said.

“I’m just standing here with Bahamians. Any right thinking Bahamian who is sitting under this current administration would be standing here,” said Komolafe.

“What you are seeing here today is an obvious display of democracy. 

“This is what democracy looks like in our country, this is what happens when the people are frustrated,” she added.

“We have not seen any protest so often in one administration that’s only been around for less than 18 months,  but it just goes to show that this administration that came into office with no plan is obviously executing plans that are not benefiting the Bahamian people and so they are here to voice their frustrations and their concerns and I’m here to stand with the people, ” she said.

“We have come to Bay Street to protest against the fact that the Free National Movement government having made many promises [and] have not kept one,” said Rodney Moncur.

“We have also come to Bay Street to petition our parliament, to demand that electricity, which is extremely high, the electricity bills, be reduced by 50 per cent,” he added.

“We are also upset over the fact that since the Free National Movement Government came to power, its only policy has been to terminate people who have been employed and yet having done that, they have done nothing to stimulate the economy whereby jobs could be produced.”

Addressing the protestors were Opposition Leader Philip Davis and his deputy Chester Cooper, who expressed hoped that this exercise opens the government’s eyes to the cries of the people.

“First of all it is impressive and I think it speaks to the frustrations and angst that exist amongst our people,” said Davis.

“I think it is exacerbated by the fact, that this government claims to be the people’s party, the people’s government, it’s the people’s time, and yet where are the people, out here crying, screaming, expressing their disappointment with this government because of what’s happening to them,” he added.

“With all the taxes and just the uncaring nature of their approach to governance as they feel it today. 

“I hope they listen to the people.  These people are crying, they want to be heard they want to be listened to, they want action to bring relief to the things they are complaining about today.”

“They say it’s the people’s time, but the people aren’t feeling that,” said Cooper.

“The cost of living is up, taxes up, and the cost of electricity is up, so every Bahamian is feeling it in their pockets and this is why we see such an outcry here this morning, because people are hurting,” he said.

“Not only is the cost of living up, but the misery level is up in the country as well.

“So this is a great democracy;  the people are speaking loudly and the government can ignore them at their own peril,  but this is a great movement here today and we are delighted that the people have determined that their voices will not be depressed, ” said Mr. Cooper.

The march came just ahead of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis tabling an amendment to the Value Added Tax (VAT)  bill, upping the exemption on electricity from $200 to $300.

As for what’s behind the soaring cost of electricity, the government has blamed it on two generators damaged by fire at the Clifton Pier plant, taking with it about 70 megawatts of energy.

Consequently, the Blue Hills power station had to be used.

Wednesday’s demonstration was organized by Queen Bee and Maria Daxon. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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