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In defense of the FNM GB Women’s Association

Published: Oct 04, 2013

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Dear Editor,

It would appear that the decision of the Free National Movement (FNM) Grand Bahama Women’s Association and its president, April Crowther, to raise funds for Latoya Denise Williams is not viewed favorably by everyone.  Williams was sentenced to six months at Her Majesty’s Prisons for assaulting Jack Hayward High School Principal Yvonne Ward.

In addition to the six-month sentence, she was fined $884, which was to be paid to the victim of the assault for a pair of broken glasses and punitive damages.  According to the press, Williams was unable to come up with the fine.  The court had warned the mother of three dependants that failure to make good on the fine would result in her spending an additional six months in prison.  And this is where the women’s association comes in.

According to the September 27 edition of The Nassau Guardian, Crowther pointed out that they are raising the funds because Williams is unemployed and the $884 fine has to be paid in order for her sentence to be less.  As well, Crowther noted that the association is assisting Williams’ children with groceries.  I stand to be corrected, but I understand that the association is also assisting with the rent and utilities payments.  The FNM association has made it painstakingly clear that it is not politicizing this incident nor does it condone what Williams did to Ward, even though the former is a member and has been for more than a year.

The association also heaped praises on Ward for her invaluable contributions to Grand Bahama in the field of education.  But given the precarious situation the children of Williams find themselves in, the association was not prepared to stand by and allow them to suffer because of the poor decision of their mother.  It was rumored on Facebook that Williams had recently lost a close female relative and was also keeping her kids.

Clearly this woman, like so many thousands of Grand Bahamians, found herself in dire straits.  If there is one example of swift justice, this is it.  On the very week she assaults the principal, Williams is sentenced to prison.  In January of this year, the Bahamian people voted against gambling and the numbers racket in an opinion poll or referendum.  Some eight months later, the numbers men continue to run their shady businesses without any interference from the powers that be.  Many grassroot Bahamians have interpreted the Williams case as a glaring example of two laws in this country; one for the rich man and one for the small man.

For what it’s worth, I think the association has done the right thing concerning this matter.  Even Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts opined that the group has done nothing wrong by assisting Williams’ children.  But, as I said at the outset, not everyone shares the same view.  According to a front page article in the September 30 edition of The Freeport News, Donald Ward, the husband of the principal, was displeased with the FNM association for assisting Williams.

After reading the article, I get the sense that Ward is not interested in seeing Williams released from Fox Hill prison anytime soon.  It seems as if he is hoping for her not to be able to pay the fine and spend the additional six months behind prison bars, despite the fact that she has three dependants.  Mind you, I am not taking sides here.  But given the circumstances concerning Williams, why wouldn’t Ward want the association to pay the fine?  And what good would it do for her to spend an additional six months in prison?

Ward’s statement to The Freeport News that the FNM association should concentrate on helping someone besides Williams in need is most unfortunate.  If there is anyone in dire need of assistance, it is the children of Williams.  I think it was unfair of him to take a subtle swipe at the association for simply reaching out to the children of Williams.  No one is condoning what she did.  She is currently being punished for her deed.  I think the six-month sentence is more than sufficient punishment for this woman.  Her spending an additional six months would serve no meaningful purpose.  I hope Ward realizes this.  I hope he holds no ill feeling towards the association and Williams.

– Kevin Evans

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