A group of concerned citizens gathered on Tuesday to launch ‘We The People’ – a non-partisan, not for profit organisation seeking to “originate, advocate and promote” progressive action through the collective efforts of its members.
Identified as the “First Thirty” the founding members are a cross-section of Bahamian professionals and philanthropists, including Bishop Neil Ellis, leader of the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship of Churches in the Bahamas; Philip Simon, former Executive Director of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; Nancy Kelly, president and CEO of Kelly’s Home Centre Ltd; and Antonio Butler, president of the College of the Bahamas Union of Students.
Essentially ‘We The People’ is a citizens’ action group with the goal of stimulating renewed public interest and positive involvement in the improvement of the community and country.
Ed Fields, senior vice president for Communications at Kerzner International and the new group’s chairman said, “Generally if asked the question, most of us would list crime, education, the judicial system, employment, etc, as the source of our problems. We would spend hours debating how and what we should do to change things in those respective areas. Indeed we have done exactly that over the many years, but to little or no avail. So what then is the answer? What is the cause of the dilemma we find ourselves in?
“The answer: ‘We are the cause’. Quite simply, while there are those among us who make the effort to effect change, it is a woeful few. Generally as a people we are not engaged. We hold to the belief that we are empowered once every five years to make a difference. The reality is we can be empowered every single day if we are willing to commit ourselves to the ‘process of change’.”
Mr. Fields stressed that We The People is not a third political party and that whatever the group is labelled it boils down to being a group of citizens concerned and interested in social, economical and infrastructural improvement and development.
“Are we a third party? Absolutely not. We might be called the Bahamian tea party. Our answer will be the tea party is about idealogy, ‘We the People’ is about ideas.
“Others will say we are an advocacy group, our response will be that we will advocate civility and constructive means of arriving at solutions, and then there are those that will define us as a pressure group.
“Our mission will be to pressure our people to engage for the national good, rather than to depend on others for the quality of our collective welfare.
“Call us any of these things, but most of all call us concerned citizens – Bahamians.”
More information can be found about the citizen action group, at www.wethepeoplebahamas.org