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Statue of Pindling? Give Us A Break

In the 23rd October edition of The Nassau Guardian appeared a letter from a senior resident of San Salvador, who had no problem signing his name to an article, calling for the erection of a statue in memory of the late Sir Milo Butler, and gave his reasons for making such a call. I disagreed with his call, and wrote to the press giving my reasons for so doing.

In today’s publication (16th Nov. 2010) in the Letters to the Editor column of The Nassau Guardian is another letter, whose author chose not to use his/her moniker, but rather hide under the blanket of a “Concerned Citizen” while making an impassioned plea for the erection of a 25 or 30 foot bronze statue to commemorate the late Sir Lynden Pindling.

I am obliged to repeat the same question that I asked of the senior citizen of San Salvador: “For what?” The writer did say that he/she was making what many would consider a strange and somewhat startling proposition. I for one do not find it strange or startling. It would appear to me that the writer must have had a nightmare that he/she had mistaken for a dream. He/she said that some may say that it sounds unworkable, and even ridiculous; it really is.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that is historical about the round-about at East Street; Lynden Pindling was not born in East Street. There is no documentation to be found anywhere in this country confirming his birth, except an affidavit in 1948 by a Justice of the Peace, claiming that he was born in the Bahamas. It has been claimed that he attended school in Jamaica until he was about twelve years old, when he came to Nassau on a three-masted schooner, The Vera P Thornhill, which plied between The Turks and Caicos, Nassau and Kingston, Jamaica, in care of one Mr Williams, the cook. He lived with his father, on East Street until he left for the UK in the late 1940’s to study law.

While reading this letter, I was wondering if the writer was really referring to the Lynden Oscar Pindling whose father was a member of The Bahamas Police Force, who used to reside on the corner of Odle Corner and East Street next to the Coakleys. There must be another person with the same moniker whom the writer is referring to.

To call the terms in reference to Lynden Pindling’s status that were posthumously bestowed on him by political counterparts, viz; Father of the Nation, bringing into being Majority Rule, Fighting for Independence, and many more myths, meagre, is sheer lunacy.

Lynden Oscar Pindling did make some substantial contributions to our social structure, but those mentioned above that are commonly referred to as contributions of his, are not among them. National Insurance, educating of the masses and the creation of a number of black millionaires, were his major contributions.

He did absolutely nothing to earn the title of Father of the Nation, except being in the right place at the right time. Sir Randol Fawkes and Sir Alvin Braynen were responsible for bringing about Majority Rule, and as far as Independence for the Bahamas is concerned, no one had to fight for that.

During the 1967 and 1968 General elections, Pindling and his party, the PLP campaigned against Independence, telling the masses that if the UBP won the election, they would take the country into Independence and make slaves out of all black people. There are a number of persons involved in those elections still alive and who can attest to that fact.

It was after winning the 1968 elections and realising that Independence was inevitable and sensing an opportunity to gain political mileage and glory from it, that he made an issue out of it. In fact, in his speech from the throne in 1968, he said that his government would not seek Independence.

There are a large number of young people in this country who are under the impression that Lynden Pindling was one of the founding members of the PLP; he was not. All of the members of the PLP, barring none, that rose to fame and glory as members of that party, were band waggoners; they hopped on when they saw that it was a very promising vehicle on which they could ride to Fame, Glory and Riches. Those who formed the entity, one of whom is still alive today languishing in an old folks home (William “Bill” Cartwright) in dire circumstances, are forgotten by the Fat Cats of the party, who are enjoying the fruits of the sacrifices and hardships rendered to them by the mercantile oligarchy of that era.

Yet we have an unknown writer calling for a 30-foot bronze statue, in these hard financial times, to be erected to one of the usurpers the party, who became a political tyrant, and reversed racist, who victimised, intimidated and destroyed a galaxy of promising politicians in this nation, while victimising and destroying untold numbers of Bahamian families in his ruthless governance by victimisation, nepotism, cronyism, intimidation and corruption. A man whose Government appointed a Blue Ribbon Commission of Enquiry, that, in a minority report condemned him. A man who brought this nation into disrepute in the eyes of the international community and earned this nation the reputation of “A Nation for Sale.”

If you, unknown writer, are so intensely interested in erecting statues to deserving Bahamians who fought, bled, sweated, suffered and shed tears while in the forefront of the battle to bring about most of the changes that created the Bahamas of today, that so many of us enjoy without knowing how we have reached to this point, and a large number of us who were deluded by glory seekers and their gofers as to why we are here, suppose you look carefully at the following and make a choice:

Sir Randol Fawkes, the Father of Labour Unions and one of the men who was responsible for Majority Rule and the formation of the first and only Coalition, Government in this nation up to this time.

Sir Alvin Braynen, the other man responsible for Majority Rule or Sir Etienne Dupuch, the man whose Resolution in Parliament in 1956 was responsible for the ending of discrimination in this country.

Sir Stafford Lofthouse Sands, the architect of our successful financial system and Sir Henry Milton Taylor, Cyril St John Stevenson, William “Bill” Cartwright, Urban Knowles, and Charles Rodriquez, who were the founding fathers of the PLP.

I can assure you that you will find very few Bahamians, if any, of yesteryear who would object-to the choice of any one of them; but I can assure you that there are tens of thousands, like me; who are in disagreement with what you are now suggesting.

I am not denying the fact that Lynden Oscar Pindling does have a place in history; in fact, I will be the first to admit that he stands alone and, in my opinion is unequalled in the art of victimization, intimidation, reverse racism and corruption. Also in my opinion he could stand tall beside the likes of Idi Amin, Mugabe, Gadaffi, Charles Taylor and Sadam Hussein. I am of the opinion that, but for Lynden Pindling, this archipelago called The Commonwealth of the Bahamas would have been a far better place in which to live.

He single handedly destroyed discipline and the morale in our once disciplined and efficient police force, and, again in my opinion, bears some responsibility for the wholesale corruption in the civil service.

Please letter writer, give us a break.

Errington W I Watkins
Nassau, Bahamas
November, 2010

Posted in Opinions

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