By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NASSAU, Bahamas, Weds. Oct. 13, 2021: The Prime Minister of The Bahamas says he and his cabinet will discuss what to do about the Columbus statue that was damaged by a man wielding a sledgehammer on Saturday.
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that he empathizes with those who would wish for the reminders of The Bahamas’ colonial past to be removed, but civil disobedience and destruction of public property cannot be condoned.
On Saturday, Oct. 9th, a man who referred to himself as “Michael the Archangel,” was arrested after he allegedly used a sledgehammer to damage the right leg of the Columbus statue while shouting at the figure: “You destroyed this land; I’ve come to take this [expletive] back.”
He was subsequently identified as Shervandaze Smith.
The act came two days before National Heroes Day, a holiday dedicated to honoring Bahamian national heroes that was established in 2013, replacing Columbus Day or Discovery Day. On Saturday, Oct. 9th, a man who referred to himself as “Michael the Archangel,” was arrested after he allegedly used a sledgehammer to damage the right leg of the Columbus statue while shouting at the figure: “You destroyed this land; I’ve come to take this [expletive] back.” The statue was erected in Columbus’ honor in 1830 by Lord Carmichael. It stands at the front of Government House, the official residence of the Governor General of The Bahamas.
On Tuesday, the prime minister said he expects the individual to be dealt with in accordance to the law.
“I am always concerned when I see acts of disobedience that result in destruction of public property,” he said following a National Heroes Day ceremony where 16 Bahamians were honored. “We ought not condone that and we don’t condone that. Whatever the historical significance and protest that has come from it in respect to Columbus’ presence or encounter with The Bahamas, that’s one issue … but this is not the way to express those sentiments by destruction of public property.”
He added: “We’ll have a discussion on that at the Cabinet level and decide what we do going forward.”
In a live update on Facebook, Attorney Maria Daxon, who claimed to have spoken to Smith who is in custody at the Central Detective Unit, said he is in good spirits and believes he acted on the Bahamian people’s behalf.
It remains to be seen if the man will be charged.
There have been increasing calls for an anti-colonial movement aimed at the liberation of cultural identity and Bahamian icons, and the removal of colonial representations in Bahamian society, including on the nation’s currency and statues in historically significant locations.