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Some defiant marchers head to Rawson Square

  • Dame Joan Sawyer, former chief justice and former president of the Court of Appeal, addresses the crowd in Pompey Square yesterday. PhotoS: Torrell Glinton

  • Italia Johnson, former speaker of the House of Assembly, stands among We March Bahamas supporters in Pompey Square yesterday.

  • The We March Bahamas movement held its second march yesterday; the 50th anniversary of majority rule. Supporters of the movement gathered at the Western Esplanade with placards and t-shirts expressing their concerns before marching toward Pompey Square.

SLOAN SMITH
Guardian Staff Reporter
sloan@nasguard.com

Published: Jan 11, 2017

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More than 1,000 supporters of We March Bahamas made their way through Downtown Nassau yesterday to Pompey Square, while some pushed on to occupy Rawson and Parliament Squares as the group did on November 25.

As the group arrived at Pompey Square, some of its members became agitated and began shouting “Rawson Square”.

The marchers then split, as half marched to Rawson Square and the others stayed behind.

In a letter issued to the group’s main organizer, Ranard Henfield, the Cabinet Office denied the group’s request to occupy the squares, saying that the march conflicted with another event.

Cedric Williamson, one of the supporters marching to Rawson Square, said, “The people need to be in a more spacious spot to assemble. In this small spot, we are going to hurt ourselves.”

While in Parliament Square, Shavaughn Laing, who also participated in the march, said she had a right to be there as a Bahamian.

“This is our country. This is our land. No politician can take this from us,” Laing said.

However, Henfield said they decided to stay in Pompey Square because they cannot ask the government to be accountable if they themselves are not.

“We can’t ask the administration to be accountable and follow the law and we the organizers of We March aren’t doing that,” he told The Nassau Guardian.

“We are accountable; we are responsible and we will follow the law.

“We told the crowd to stay here.

“We did have some disgruntled persons who wanted to go down there. They went there, maybe 400 or 500 of them, but the thousands of us came here and then they returned.

“We are going to do things in decency and order and respect because we will march again and at all times we want to keep the people safe.

“We want to remind the people that there must be decency and order in everything we do.”

Henfield said yesterday’s numbers showed that the people of The Bahamas will not be “divided and conquered.”

He asserted the people realize that they deserve better and they are prepared to stand up for better.

Several prominent Bahamians joined the march, including renowned Bahamian artist Ronnie Butler, former Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer and first female member of Parliament Janet Bostwick.

Henfield said, “If it’s one thing I want people to take away from today, it is that the people of The Bahamas have solutions, and we don’t need to sit back and wait on the government anymore.

“I want people to take away today that We March not only delivered on what We March said we would do, but We March showed up with solutions, ideas and a plan to fix this country for all Bahamians, not for a particular party or a particular community, but for all Bahamians.”

Yesterday’s march was step three in the group’s eight-step plan.

Henfield said the group’s Black Friday march and occupation was step one, think tanks were step two and yesterday’s presentation of the solutions and ideas was step three.

Henfield said they are not prepared to reveal their remaining five steps.

He added that it is through these steps that We March will address its five pillars of reform for the country.

The five pillars include economic reform, political reform, social reform, labor reform and better management of the county’s natural resources, wildlife and environment.


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