By: Betty Vedrine/Bahamas Information Services
The country’s First Lady, Mrs. Ann Marie Davis is appealing to the government for more statues to commemorate the contributions made by women in the country. In her role as head of the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Davis was delivering the keynote address during a wreath-laying ceremony held on Prince George Wharf on Tuesday, 8th March. The wreath was laid at the bronze statue of the Bahamian Mother and Child, located at the eastern end of the wharf. The statue was commissioned in 1974 by former Parliamentarian, Mr. Oscar Johnson (Cat Island MP, 1968-1976). The statute depicts a barefoot young black female holding a naked baby.
Mrs. Davis said that although many persons may be unaware of the statue’s existence and the story behind why it was commissioned, it serves as a critical element in celebrating the important role that women play in the development of the country.
“This statue celebrates the qualities that many Bahamian possess: resilience, dedication, love and strength,” she said. “The statue, which was commissioned a year after the country gained its Independence, also commemorates the important role that women play as nurturers, freedom fighters and key partners in our nation.”
She said it symbolizes the many virtues of women and is a perfect relic to celebrate on International Women’s day as it showcases, via its reflection of natural grace and beauty, the many roles that women have to play in daily life. She also encouraged the government to continue to empower women through policy and legislation. She also called on Bahamian women to make their voices heard by pushing for more opportunities in Parliament. Currently, the female vote is about 51 percent of the country’s electorate. It is time for the parliament to reflect that number.
Mrs. Davis reflected on the roles other women including suffragettes, played in building up the nation and paid a special tribute to former Deputy Prime Minister, Mrs. Cynthia “Mother” Pratt for her contributions to the country.
“I also wish to take a moment and pay tribute to Mrs. Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt for her dedication and for making it her life’s work to empower the Bahamian people,”said Mrs. Davis. “She should be memorialized for her courage, hard work and commitment to her country.” The ceremony ended with the laying of a purple and white wreath at the base of the statue of the Bahamian Mother and Child.