Equality; On the agenda

Equality; On the agenda

Lights, cameras, action at downtown Nassau on the eve of the Gender Equality referendum…

By M80

Now that the world’s premier tourist destination, the Bahamas, seeks the advice of its people, a second time around to officially adjust its stride at gender equality or not, ultimately leveling the playing field or not, between both genders where and when marriage and citizenship are concerned. I took to the streets — unlike any journalist alive would — and scooped the views and opinions of daycationers on the heated household topic touching lives nationwide.

It’s an exercise of democratic delegation used by countries worldwide to make really delicate, dangerous, difficult decisions simply put. Tomorrow June 7th marks the designated date for the revolutionary referendum geared towards amending the gender equality act on four individual counts.

Yea sure, both genders these days have equal rights as citizens, but things change drastically for females wanting to apply for the naturalization of their foreign male spouse and/or children. Then again, there’s the controversial conversation of the Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender (LGBT) community’s claim to equality within the amendment of the bill also.

In fact, this year marks the 54th anniversaries of both the Women Suffrage Movement of the Bahamas, and the United Nation’s Women Suffrage agenda, which strangely lands just a couple of months after.

So there I was, on the phone patiently holding the line for Power 104.5 FM’s new evening talk show ‘Off-Air,’ with female supporters of the “YES” campaign on board as guests. To my surprise I was somehow rudely disconnected as I did my endeavor to explain exactly why I didn’t support the referendum at all.

All in light of end results from the most previous two of them, no doubt. The first would have been in February 2002 adjusting the election boundaries from 41 to 38, the retirement ages of judges, and the removal of gender discrimination from the constitution, etc. The majority voted “NO” and the bills were still passed. The second was to legalize gambling as a source of national income or not. The majority voted “NO” and a 7.5% value added tax was implemented in January 2015. “The bahamian people are not ready for this referendum, as seen from the previous two obviously. I’m sorry but some of us can’t even spell referendum,” I passionately suggested as I was immediately hung up on.

A few days later I was found riding on the bus, passing by dozens of demonstrators for the “NO” campaign marching in the street at Village & Wulff roads, New Providence Island. I couldn’t just jump out get jiggy and join them, even if I really wanted to. I was going somewhere.

Demonstrators of the gender equality’s “NO” campaign marched Village & Wulff roads on Sunday.

As usual, I had to be completely random, if not peculiar, about who I asked for opinions and comments of the spectacular national event. First off, they had to be tourists to the country. Secondly, it didn’t matter too much if they were cruise ship visitors here in town for a few hours only, or hotel/condo guests living it up and sleeping over on the island for a while. There was only one Carnival cruise ship in the harbor that can actually hold about six more.

Here’s a look at who I met and what they had to say about tomorrow’s agenda.

Wendy Valdez 40, is divorced and from North Carolina, U.S.A. She was with her two children, a 22 year old daughter and 13 year old son when she graced me with a piece of her mind today.

“It is most certainly time for women in this country, or any other in the world, to have the same rights men do. Single mothers too! The LGBT community’s desires are a real setback to the youth, but at the same time the kids that decide to live that lifestyle one day, of age, should be treated fairly and equally I got to say,” said Wendy as I picked at her brain. They are residing at the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, where locals (FYI) were recently denied all access to the island’s beach by resort owners.

“Oh no, I don’t support that homo [mess] boo boo. Me and my husband are happily married and I think the women here should not be restricted from finding that happiness all because of the brother’s nationality. And it sounds like you’ll should have that transgender referendum by itself,” Nicolette Morgan explained as she nervously held on tight to her husband’s hand. Michelle is 28, from Atlanta, Georgia U.S.A. and has been married for 9 years.

Mark Goodall from Atlanta, Georgia is 49 and is visiting on board a cruise with his wife and 7 year old daughter. He kept his comments short and sweet. “Your laws need to be changed up big time buddy. The yes vote is a step towards living in modern day times. And I’m pretty sure more people would invest in your country too.” I thanked Mr. Goodall and the family for commenting as they left.

Conrado Menendez 62, is from Argentina. He speaks little english, and so does his wife. As I realized the accuracy of her translation was on point however, I changed the agenda up a bit for them. We briefly discussed their country’s current President Maurico Macri being one of the 12 present/former heads of state and 17 friends/relatives of heads of state exposed for laundering millions of dollars, taking advantage of the Bahamas’ offshore banking tax-haven economy. Excited at the news, he loudly called out to his friends and family traveling along to share and discuss.

Port Nassau, Prince George Harbor on the eve of the Gender Equality referendum…

Switching up the agenda altogether uno momento on the more entertaining side of national issues, like sports, a big shouts out goes to Oklahoma University’s and George Washington University’s Bahamian Star NBA/WNBA draft picks Buddy Hield & Jonquel Jones! Also, a huge big ups goes to the first Bahamian woman drafted to the WNBA, Waltiea Rolle. All eyes on you, aim for the stars and keep up the great work champs!!

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