Students of Walter Parker Primary School celebrated the 51st Anniversary of Majority Rule on Thursday (January 11) at their school’s campus, with a special assembly.
Majority Rule Day was officially observed on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. (If that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday would be observed as a holiday.)
Majority Rule Day marks The Bahamas gaining majority rule for the first time on January 10, 1967. Last year marked the holiday’s 50th Anniversary.
On January 10, 1967, in Assembly Elections the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) led by Sir Lynden O. Pindling and the ruling United Bahamian Party (UBP) led by Sir Roland Symonette both won 18 seats.
There was one Labor MP, Sir Randol Fawkes, who decided to side with the PLP, enabling majority rule for the first time in Bahamian history.
Sir Lynden became the first black Premier of The Bahamas, becoming Prime Minister in 1969.
Principal of Walter Parker Primary School, Edna Gomez told this daily that they decided to have the assembly to share this vital part of history with the students … “So that the children know why they have that day off,” she said.
Gomez revealed that the students are learning about Majority Rule in Social Studies class, specifically sixth graders.
She noted that it was important for the students to hear from guest speaker, Maurice Moore, someone who was pivotal in Majority Rule.
Cecil Thompson Co-Chairman of the Majority Rule Committee spoke to this daily about the significance of commemorating the day.
He explained that the former government made Majority Rule a holiday in 2014, and since then Thompson and a group of other individuals have worked diligently to establish celebrations for the event.
Thompson revealed that he wrote to the then District Superintendent of Education, principals, churches, and uniformed youth organizations, including the Church of God of Prophecy, Legend Marching Band, Pathfinders, Bahamas Brass Band and many others.
He said that Dr. Joneth Edden was the Founding Executive Director of the Majority Rule Celebrations in Grand Bahama.
“People give me a lot of credit, but the idea was hers,” he said.
Edden, who also spoke to this daily, noted that it was important to honor Majority Rule and inform Bahamians of its significance.
“Persons just think that it was just one day and one event, but it was over a decade that this event was happening; so we really wanted to demonstrate to the youth and to the general public what Majority Rule was,” she said.
She added that another agenda was to honor the persons who were instrumental in Majority Rule such as Maurice Moore.
Thompson said that Moore’s contribution to Majority Rule was that he took the politics out of it.
“In 67 Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield was the Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party and Maurice Moore and Warren Levarity were young men who shocked the world and made Bahamian history. Against all odds they were elected,” he said.
He added that the vote would not have been 18/18 if those two men from Grand Bahama were not elected.
“Mr. Moore is the last living Member of Parliament from that first Majority Rule Government,” he said.
Thompson stated that Moore’s involvement made it okay for churches, schools and others to celebrate Majority Rule in Grand Bahama.
“I told principals, in deep conscience, I could not ask a principal or teacher to participate in something that was partisan. It is a national celebration,” he said.
He added that it made him proud to see the extent to which Grand Bahama celebrates Majority Rule, more so than any other island.
Thompson shared that he was disappointed in the postponing of last year’s celebration especially because it was the holiday’s 50th anniversary. However, he promised that next year will be bigger and better than ever.