Nassau, Bahamas––The Bahamas National Coalition Party (BNCP) staged a protest at the entrance of Sandals Royal Bahamian on Monday, August 22, 2016. The protest was held to show solidarity with 600 workers who had been recently fired by the hotel and was supported by the African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas and the Africans United Coalition.
Andrew Stuart, Chairman of the BNCP, said that the BNCP held the protest to stand in solidarity with the workers especially since the government, in his view, has shown that it is spineless by not standing up to this imperialist foreign power in our midst.
He said that it was obvious that the government and opposition’s silence is based on the fact that they are in cahoots with the imperialists and as a result of there being no difference between the two main political parties in The Bahamas, he felt somebody had to stand up for workers in The Bahamas.
Protestors carried placards calling for the withdrawal of concessions from the hotel and demanding an end to the mistreatment of Bahamians.
When asked what the phrase “Put Bahamians First” meant to the BNCP, Mr. Stuart said it meant standing up for workers in The Bahamas at all costs.
For the African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas, the recent dispute between the workers and the hotel is a clear example of what the phrase “Put Bahamians First” really means to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Free National Movement (FNM); the two main political parties in The Bahamas.
For years the workers at the hotel struggled to form a union––which is their constitutional right––and for years the owners of the hotel have resisted this.
After years of struggle by the workers, the courts officially recognized the union as a legitimate bargaining agent for the workers. However, the owners of the hotel have refused to sign an industrial agreement with the union.
Recently, the union filed criminal proceedings against the owners of the hotel for failing to sit at the table and agree on an industrial agreement.
In response to this, last week the hotel fired 600 workers.
PLP and FNM are not parties of the people
This struggle has continued like this for years and successive governments––as the primary representatives of the people––have failed to use their power to force the hotel to negotiate and sign an industrial agreement with the union.
Now the hotel owners claim they are closing for renovations and they said that they love the people of Bahamas.
In fact, they love the workers so much that he gave them a “great” back to school gift. With only two weeks left to prepare for the opening of school, those 600 fired workers would have no money for books, uniforms, pens, laptops, school bags, etc. And it means thousands of working class families will be put under immense social and economic stress.
In response to this, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)––the ruling party––has said the resort’s actions are illegal. But they have done nothing.
The Free National Movement (FNM)––the opposition––criticizes the government for not informing the workers sooner and said they would have liked to have known earlier so they could have lightened the impact.
These are the choices that Bahamian workers have to choose from.
The sad thing is that Sandals is an award-winning hotel and it won those awards on the sweat and blood of workers in The Bahamas. Yet imperialism spits those workers out like they are nothing.
Put the African working class first!
In reality, for the PLP and FMN “Put Bahamians First” really means put imperialism first, the national ruling class second and then the African working class and poor people shall forever be last, exploited and oppressed.
As a matter of fact, the most dangerous words in Bahamian politics is “Put Bahamians First”. It’s a phrase that puts the entire population under one happy social umbrella and it cloaks the parasitic relationship that exists between imperialism––the external forces who are extracting our wealth and value––the national ruling class who maintain the system on behalf of the imperialists, and the African workers––the ones who create the wealth which is the basis of the entire system.
The phrase “Put Bahamians First” is just a hollow capitalist slogan that’s used to trick the African working class and poor peasantry into remaining ideologically and politically loyal to the national ruling class, which is tied to imperialism.
The African working class of The Bahamas cannot rely on the PLP or the FNM to stand up for them or to solve any of our problems.
Working class africans must come into organizations built by the African working class in the interest of the African worker so that we can build power to seize control of this economy and our national resources and direct it in our interests.
The workers and poor people in The Bahamas need our own organizations and committees and most importantly we need our own political party. Join the African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas. APSP-Bahamas is the political Party or the African workers and the only organization struggling to overturn parasitic capitalism on the island.
Forget the phrase “Put Bahamians First.” We need to put the African working class first and work to overturn the systems which exploit African workers of the Bahamas.
Join the African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas!
Build Our Own Party!
Forward Our Own Agenda!