Categorized | Editorials


In the book The Growth of the Modern West Indies, the author  Gordon K. Lewis wrote: “ From the earliest beginnings after 1620,  the Bahamian development  departed radically from those of the islands properly West Indian. The productive system, after a false start in tobacco growing, was essentially mercantile. The genesis of the New Providence colony, so deeply rooted as it was in the growth of its pirate economy, placed a maritime stamp upon the original settlers, not to mention a collective psychology of hardy individualism which remained with Bahamians, even after the famous gubernatorial regime of Woodes Rogers finally terminated the existence of the pirate base.

“The piratical outlook tended to remain,  founded as it had been upon a succession of early Governors, before the reforming Rogers’ period, who had openly profited from the reckless sale of privateering commissions. The art of piracy, even so, was merely followed by the art of wrecking, the organised  depredation upon shipwrecked vessels which, from a moral viewpoint, was hardly an improvement.

Both piracy and wrecking flourished on the geographical character of the Bahamian archipelago, with its hazardous sea passages and the virtual impossibility of imposing any kind of effective control over islands such as Grand Bahama and Inagua isolated, until the communications revolution of the twentieth century, from the capital centre.”

Lewis wrote that “The Atlantic West Indies entered the modern  period (of the 20th century) politically antiquated, culturally depressed and psychologically retarded.  The Bay Street Boys in Nassau, presided over a socio-economic power structure in which they controlled the economic-financial apparatus by  means of family-type interlocking directorates, and the political apparatus by means of their personal occupation of the strategic members’ seats in the House of Assembly.
“Their social climate was a Dickensian mixture of American crass acquisitiveness and British snobbery, and not the least fascinating aspect  for the social  psychologist was the way in which, despite their efforts to draw social lines, the ‘best people’ finally accepted the newly-rich liquor families whose wealth they coveted as they despised their manners.”

The foregoing is published  for our readers to gain an insight into the kind of Bahamas we had back then. Today,   after 45 years of independence, Bahamians still have a psychological problem with respect to national development.  Bahamians do not have a sense of self. They are still searching for a national identity and  the vast majority  still do not know what kind of Bahamas we want. Because we have lacked civics in our education curriculum, generations of Bahamians have not been formally taught about several important elements and/ or factors that have influenced the social economic and political direction of our country,  leading to the kind of Bahamas we have today.

The late Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Great Britain once stated, “ a country that does not know its history, does not know itself.  Most Bahamians do not know our history, because we have been victims of a flawed public educational system which has failed to teach civics, hence we really do not know our national self.

The eras of Slavery and Colonialism have had the greatest effect on  Bahamians as a people, because those  periods impacted our psyche, our confidence and how  we think of ourselves.
Slavery and Colonialism have been the monkeys on our backs and have hindered the development of our sense of self, our national identity and who we are as Bahamians.


Today we call on the government of the Bahamas to insist that courses in Bahamian civics are taught in all of our schools beginning at the primary school level, with  a subject  in  the Bahamas Junior Certificate examinations being mandatory.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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