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The Bahamas In Transition #7
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The Bahamas In Transition #7

Sir Etienne Dupuch

On January 23rd, 1956 Etienne Dupuch an independent member of parliament, editor and publisher of the Tribune moved an anti discrimination parliamentary resolution that was to outlaw the colour bar in the Bahamas, and allow all races to visit or dine wherever they wish. The resolution was the first time racial equality gor parliamentary recognition.

Black people were not allowed to visit, Nassau's city hotels, restaurants and savoy theatre on bay street. Later on in life he opposed the radical ways of the Progressive Liberal Party in regards to dealing with political difference between whites and blacks, he felt that a middle of the road position would have been better.

Progressive Liberal Party

Was founded in 1953 by William Bill Cartwright, Cyril Stevenson and Henry Milton Taylor.This party came at time when the people were ripe for political change. Randol Fawkes and later Clifford Darling had galvanize the people as a unified group yearning for racial equality, and economic and political change. It was at this backdrop that made it easy for the PLP be so successful.

General Election 1962

The general election of May 2nd 1962, between the Progressive Liberal Party and the United Bahamian Party, was the beginning of the end for the Bay Street Boys, a rich group of white men who ruled the Bahamas for many years.

The results showed that the Progressive Liberal Party got 32, 261 Votes and received eight seats, the United Bahamian Party got 26, 500 votes and received 18 seats, you might wonder if I made a mistake with the numbers, but there is no mistake here. Randol Fawkes of The Labour Party got 3,049 and one seat. Independents received 11, 516 votes and got 6 seats.

Gerrymandering

The United Bahamian Party was able to win this election by gerrymandering. It's a process of setting electoral district to gain a political advantage for a political party. The Bahamas population along racial lines, is 85% black and 15% white , The United Bahamian Party will add more electoral seats in the white areas, which were normally in the North and west of New Providence. Thus you have a large number of black voters living in the south with only a few seats, thus giving the United Bahamian Party an unfair advantage.

Electoral Reform

The leader of the Progressive Liberal Party were very uncomfortable with the way the election was held and tried to persuade the governing to pass laws for election reform, but the governing part would not accommodate. The were becoming uneasy about the growing grass root support for the Progressive Liberal Party. They felt that to change the electoral system would be suicide for them.


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