NASSAU –– Anglican Archdeacon James Palacious said on Tuesday that “black people breed too much”, adding that Bahamian women “should stop having babies” they cannot afford.
Addressing a crowd of supporters at the end of a march to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Majority Rule on the Southern Recreation Grounds, Archdeacon Palacious said unless “we find a way to control our reproductive processes” The Bahamas will be stuck recycling poverty.
The archdeacon said while Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn’s proposal for state-sponsored sterilisation of women was “most unfortunate”, he agrees with the principle of what Lightbourn was trying to say.
While speaking at the Free National Movement’s (FNM) televised convention last July, Lightbourn proposed that the country adopt legislation that mandates unwed mothers with more than two children have their “tubes tied” in an effort to curtail the country’s social ills. His comments drew the ire of many people, with some parliamentarians, local advocacy groups, and others swiftly condemning him for his comments.
“We live in a society where the rich gets richer and the poor get children,” Archdeacon Palacious said on Tuesday.
“What I mean is this, unless we can control our reproductive process we will always be recycling poverty. My member of Parliament Richard Lightbourn made some most unfortunate remarks at the FNM convention, which he later apologised for, and that is important. Having said that let me say this too: the principal of what he was trying to say I agree totally.
“Black people breed too much. We have too many children we cannot afford and as a result of that we digging ourselves more and more into poverty. If we can’t see that then something is radically wrong with us.
“You have children on the lunch programme right now mothers, and you going having some more, come on man. Give me a break, give yourself a break. God didn’t put you here as any baby machine, he put you here to be a productive citizen of this country. That is what we need.”
Archdeacon Palacious also criticised the Bahamian people for “relying too much” on the government and not taking “responsibility” for their “own lives and actions”.
“We blame the government for our own failures . . . . We complain about what the foreigners doing to us, what the white man doing, what the Chinese doing. Unfortunately, many of us are doing it to ourselves. The Chinese don’t have our girls pregnant over the hill,” he said.
“They aren’t robbing us, they aren’t killing us. We are the ones who are doing it to ourselves. We need to take personal responsibility for where we are right now. [Sir Lynden] Pindling already dead. Sir Roland [Symonette] already dead. They dead. We are here. We are the ones here that have to make sense of all of this. This day would mean nothing if we cannot show that we are better off. We need a zero tolerance for the bunch of excuses we make. There is so much more to be done, that mission of Majority Rule is accomplished but the struggle goes on.”
Archdeacon Palacious also said he is “dismayed” that the 2016 gender equality referendum did not prevail and he is disappointed that on the 50th anniversary of Majority Rule, that the “majority of the people in the country still do not have some fundamental rights under the Constitution”.