Moving Forward, Upward, Onward, Together

Deborah Y. Pratt

Last week Wednesday, May 10, 2017, history was made in The Bahamas as the former opposition party, the Free National Movement (FNM), won our country’s General Elections by a landslide, winning 35 of the 39 seats in Parliament. The remaining four seats went to the former governing party, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

After a very contentious and in some cases really nasty election season, personally, I could not wait for May 10 to come and go. However, one week later, the negativity continues.

Today, I write to appeal to you, my fellow Bahamians, for us to consider the words of our country’s motto, coined by two 11-year-old school students, Vivian F. Moultrie and Melvern B. Bowe over four decades ago, “Forward, Upward, Onward, Together.”

We are blessed to live in a democratic country where we have freedom of choice. We must therefore learn to respect the decision of the majority. The people spoke loud and clear last week, as they marked their ballots giving the FNM an overwhelming win. Thus, it is time for us to come together as Bahamians, moving forward, upward, onward and together.

In my opinion, this was one of the worse election seasons ever with all of the degrading posts on social media and total disrespect for government officials and others who offered themselves for service. It is okay to be passionate about your party of choice, however, we must learn to respect the opinions of others without belittling them. While we may have different views, we should still be able to conduct ourselves in a peaceful, loving and respectful manner. There should be no need to demean the character of those we oppose or speak down to others because they have a different view from us. Some may say that elections have always been like this, thus the reason why it’s known as “Silly Season.” pHowever, I feel that with social media the ‘silly’ in ‘silly season’ has been taken to a whole new level with the nasty memes, degrading posts and false information being circulated.

One week later, instead of dying down, it seems as though this behavior has escalated. Negative posts, comments and backlashes continue to surface on social media. Those who supported the FNM continue to throw jeers and others who may have supported the PLP or any other party continue to gripe, some going as far as wishing doom on the government or country. Come on people, this is utter foolishness! Elections are over; if you supported the winning party it’s okay to be proud of their victory but no need to continue throwing jeers or demeaning others. If you did not support the winning party it makes no sense to be whining and complaining or making silly posts wishing doom because we all are Bahamians and this is our homeland.

I actually read a post where someone said that those who are not happy with the results of the elections could just leave the country. Does that mean that the country is just for one group of persons at a time? We are all Bahamians and whether the party we supported won the government or not, we must all work together as the words of our National Pledge says, “One people united in love and service.”
Some of our people are just so rude and disrespectful and what disturbs me most is that a lot of the negativity and disrespectful posts/comments are being done by persons who are supposed to be mature adults.

I was appalled this past Monday evening at some of the comments that were being made on the live Face Book feed as the former Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Perry Gladstone Christie gave his address. They were simply deplorable! It does not matter how one may feel about Mr. Christie, there is no way that anyone should be saying to him or any former leader of our country such disparaging remarks. We must become more mature as a people! Mr. Christie gave 40 plus years of his life in service to our country and while he was not perfect, as none of us are, he should be respected and appreciated for his service and all of the sacrifices that he and his family have made over the years.

We must put all of the silliness behind us, make amends and let the healing process begin so that we can move our nation forward, upward, onward, together. There is a lot to be done, we don’t have time to waste being so negative. The government has its work to do and we as a people must also do our part to create a better Bahamas. No matter your political affiliation, find something that you can do to help our island and country at large. Be it mentoring a young person, helping to save him or her from a life of crime; working with your church, civic organizations or Member of Parliament to create programs that will help to empower individuals and better our communities; there is something that all of us can do.

I congratulate Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and his government and look forward to all of us as Bahamians working together, moving our country, forward, upward, onward, together.

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