Bahamian Coloniality and Violence: Legal Legacies

Ian A Bethell-Bennett


The legacy of legal dispossession and dislocation as well as the marginalisation of the masses has been longstanding. This begins with land law that has never been updated to empower the people and moves through social or public order laws that are meant to protect the public by keeping order along the lines of Hobbesian and Lockeian thinking. If we look closely at a number of laws and political structures in the postcolony in the Anglophone Caribbean, we find that the legacy of Britain remains entrenched. This has both direct and indirect effects on the masses. The direct effect is Bahamians finding it harder to succeed in their own country than most international persons; and the indirect effect is violence and dispossession. This legacy and indirect effect lead to what has become referred to as a culture of violence, not because people see the violence they live with, but because they respond to the violence through violence they create and then become famous for. When a former subject, now a citizen in the postcolony, locked in a body and a space with few opportunities and access to those opportunities is frustrated by the legal and political economic systems, this working-class subject (like so many others) responds by resisting this oppression. Meanwhile, these laws continue to exact a heavy price.


Postcolonialism; Bahamas -Social conditions; Bahamas - Politics and government; Colonization

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