The Progressive Liberal Party
The Speeches of
Sir Lynden Pindling
Table Of Contents
VICTORY: 1967 3
"HAVE FAITH IN US" 4
"WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A BAHAMIAN?" 5
VISION RENEWED 7
UNITED STATES CONVENTION TAX 8
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM 10
THE PARTY 13
THE BAHAMIAN VALUE SYSTEM AND THE YOUTH 14
NATIONAL SERVICE 15
MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS: 1965 16
LOCAL INVESTMENT 23
FAREWELL ADDRESS 24
BAHAMIAN YOUTH AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 31
A SOUND PHILOSOPHY OF DEVELOPMENT 32
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY 34
THE KEY ROLE OF YOUTH 35
Sir Lynden O. Pindling's interview with the Nassau Guardian, January 1 1th, 1967
"The Progressive Liberal Party is for everyone. I hope the white population have
realized this and have no fears.
"In the event of there being British or North American investors who may be
uncertain I should like to allay whatever fears they might have. Their capital is quite safe
and I don't think investors will withdraw their cash before they have seen what we are
going to do. And I can't see us doing anything to cut our own throats.
"I am jubilant and very happy indeed [about the election results] although taken
aback by the fact that the PLP won so many seats overwhelmingly. I thought the UBP
and NDP might have polled a little more, although I did not expect the NDP to return any
members to the House.
"We expected a closer fight in Fort Charlotte, Grants Town and Coconut Grove,
where the best-known NDP members were contesting. We had felt that Mr. Adderley,
Mr. Turnquest and Mr. Bethel might have been able to save their deposits.
"I have not been in touch with any of them [the NDP] so I can't say [if any of the
members considered joining the PLP] at the moment.
"It would seem to be that we have got a cross-section of the entire population. I
think the conflict of interest issue has done a lot towards [the big swing to the PLP]."
"HAVE FAITH IN US"
Sir Lynden Pindling's Press conference immediately after taking the oath as Premier of
the Bahamas, January 16th, 1967
"Whenever an upset occurs in an election anywhere in the world, those who have
capital at stake are likely to react with doubt, even fear. Let me therefore reassure our
friends abroad that my government will foster the climate of free enterprise that they have
come to expect in the Bahamas. Our plans for the pleasure of tourists call for more, not
less. Our plans for the confidence of investors call for immediate person-to-person
conference with leaders both here and abroad. High on the programme of my
Government will be to give assurance to President Lyndon Johnson that these islands will
remain friendly, these islands will continue to play their role in the defence pattern of the
western world and these islands will no longer be a haven for gangsters. We are
determined to be a good neighbour and a good partner.
"The investor doesn't mind who is in power. They don't mind whether it is the
PLP or the UBP. We intend to create a climate for safety for capital in this country. It
will be safer and cheaper.
"When we were in opposition we made an advance to the UN. They told us then
that if the Government in the Bahamas (then the UBP) made a request it would be given
"My Party is not opposed to gambling. But we intend to take a closer look at the
"My Government's basic philosophy can be summed up as 'the Square Deal.'
We realise keenly and humbly that our political campaign directed to our Bahamian
constituencies was successful to a high degree, but we realise too that there are other
constituencies to whom we as a Government must now carry a new campaign. I refer to
900 hundred thousand tourists, 900 investors already here and perhaps 900 more waiting
"I have a serious word for the hundreds of thousands of friends the Bahamas has
in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the West Indies and throughout the
free world; that word is: have faith in us."
"WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A BAHAMIAN?"
Sir Lynden O. Pindling - Address at the National Conference on Independence, April
"This National Conference has served to outline and explain to you all what our
steps in building our Nation would be. We have been considering how we would give
formal constitutional, legal, social, economic and religious expression to being a
Bahamian. What does it take to be a Bahamian? Loyalty to our Bahamas over and above
all other; zeal for our Bahamas unmatched by any other; concern for other Bahamians
over all others.
"One of the greatest psychological changes that has overtaken the Bahamian
people in the years since 1967 is their sense of pride in being 'Bahamian.' There was a
time when being a Bahamian did not count for much. The Bahamian was tolerated but
not recognised. Now he is given full recognition and cannot be just tolerated. But we
Bahamians have a responsibility to our Country not to let our new-found sense of pride
go to our heads. Instead, we should always use our heads to make the most of our pride
of being. Independence will mean work for us all, self reliance for us all, dignity for us
all, and reward for us all; but the mere fact of Independence will not promise us a rose
"Those who wish to be Bahamian also have a responsibility. They have a
responsibility to try to be like us; to try to share our hopes and aspirations; to help us
build and achieve. They do not have a responsibility to try and remake us in someone
else's image; they have no responsibility to retard our progress or to destroy everything
"The commitment and dedication to the Bahamas of those who wish to be
Bahamian must be no less than our own and no less than Ruth's was to Naomi. Hers was
total. Ruth stated her case as follows: 'Intreat me not to leave thee or to return from
following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will
lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die,
and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part
thee and me.' And, if we demand that kind of commitment from those who would wish
to be Bahamian, we who are Bahamian can have no less a commitment for each other.
"Our Bahamian Nation is unfolding before our very eyes as we ring down the
final curtain on this great Family Drama in which all of us have played star roles. And as
the curtain falls, I commend to you the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy spoken at his
inauguration: 'In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final
success or failure of our course.... With a good conscience our only sure reward, with
history the final judge of our good deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking
His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our
"You have come, all of you, from far and near. You have come to refresh your
memories about the past; you have come to examine the present; and you have come to
plan the future. The future - what does it hold? Sometimes the best laid plans of man go
astray. That happens in countries that are independent and countries that are not and
being a colony is no saving feature. But have we no faith? Our Brother Clarence Alfred
Bain would have reminded us that 'God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to
perform. He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm. '
"Living as we are on these Islands we are children of the sea. Living on these
Family Islands, we are one Family. As our Islands are part of God's great Universe we
are children of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars. Yes, we do have a right
to be here. And whether or not it is clear to all of us, the Universe is unfolding as it
"God bless you all!"
Sir Lynden O. Pindling - Address to the 41st General Convention of the Progressive
Liberal Party, January 30th, 1997
"We see a Bahamas envied by all other nations because of its high quality of life,
peacefulness, prosperity, unity and care for its people.
"We see a nation built on Christian principles and consisting of a citizenry
dedicated to respecting and defending human rights, human dignity and the equal value
of all mankind; a nation committed to reverence for God, the sanctity of the traditional
family, equal opportunity, diligent work for the welfare of all its citizens.
"We see a nation where the people are the most precious resource, over and above
all natural and material resources, and national prosperity is measured by the quality of
the health, education and social environment and self-esteem of its people.
"We see a nation where the individual and corporate productivity are synonymous
with self-worth and where the love for work is esteemed as a national obligation.
"We see a nation where our national commitment is the care, protection,
preservation and helping of members of society and where the poor, disadvantaged and
impaired are seen as everyone's responsibility.
"We see a nation where economic diversity creates a broad spectrum of
opportunities to challenge all the rich creative talent, gifts, abilities and ingenuity of the
people, thus producing an atmosphere of variety, healthy competition and
"We, therefore, commit ourselves to restore the Bahamas to its course of self-
determination. We go back to the future as we recommit ourselves to the ideals of the
founding principles of our great Party.
"We repent of our waywardness and our wandering from the original vision. We
recommit ourselves to you the people as your servants and renew our pledge to position
this great little nation for the 21st Century.
"Go with us, fellow Bahamians, to the future with this renewed Vision of a
Bahamas that we know is in your hearts. Let us go forward together with God, Family,
Hard Work and Justifiable Wages!"
UNITED STATES CONVENTION TAX
Sir Lynden Pindling's Address at the Sixth Miami Conference on Trade, Investment and
Development, Monday, 6th December, 1982
"The largest single sector of our economy is tourism. The tourist industry
sustains our economy and substantial national resources have already been devoted to its
development. Despite fluctuations in its level due, in the main, to economic factors
outside our control, we have managed to maintain our tourist industry and we can
continue to maintain the industry if only we are permitted to do so without outside
"I must tell you, therefore, that we are deeply concerned about the United States
Government's tax restriction legislation against convention groups. So far, our tourism
officials estimate that The Bahamas has lost over fifty-five million dollars due to the
implementation of this tax. While we are informed that the tax produces only minimal
tax revenue to the United States, the net result to The Bahamas of these provisions is a
reduction in job opportunities, under-utilization of existing facilities, and a lack of
interest in capital expenditures and economic activity associated with expanding tourism.
"In 1981, of the total income from tourism of 639 million dollars, some 473
million dollars were expended in direct purchases in or to suppliers located in the United
States. This is evidence that United States businesses share directly and substantially in
the economic activity of The Bahamas. It follows naturally that they will enjoy less
export traffic to The Bahamas if the principal element of our economy is further allowed
to suffer. Additionally, it should be borne in mind that at least fifty percent of all hotel
rooms in The Bahamas are owned by American companies or individuals. Hence, at least
fifty percent, and probably more, of the 278 million dollars 1981 gross income of the
hotel industry in The Bahamas accrued directly to United States interests.
"The Caribbean Basin Data Sheet ... confirms that with the sole exception of the
Dominican Republic, The Bahamas has the highest level of imports from the United
States of all nineteen nations and areas listed.
"President Reagan has identified a 'crisis facing most of the Basin countries (that)
is real and acute.' So I tell you plainly and simply: restrictions on our tourism
development are, in part, a cause for that crisis as it undermines the Bahamian economy.
To sustain and revitalise our economy, which is the keystone of the Basin Plan, we must
be permitted to develop our tourism base without the inhibiting restrictions placed on
foreign conventions. To revitalise and sustain the economies of the region Caribbean
Basin countries must be permitted to have sustained public and private sector investments
over the next decade.
"The Commonwealth of The Bahamas has not been allocated nor has it requested
any direct financial assistance as is proposed for some nations in the region. We hope to
expand the economic opportunities for our people through our own initiatives and we
expect to be able to do so with understanding, support and encouragement from the
United States as envisaged by the President's programme. We can step now toward that
goal if the present tourism restrictions are removed in favour of The Bahamas, Bermuda
and Barbados, the oldest democracies in the hemisphere, as they have been for our
"The Bahamas inclusion in the United States convention tax exemption plan is
important to the Bahamian economy."
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
Sir Lynden Pindling's Remarks at the 1990 Youth Convention of the Anglican Diocese of
Nassau and The Bahamas including Turks and Caicos Islands, St. John's College
Auditorium, Sunday, August 19th, 1990
"My generation has always believed that children are a gift from God, 'the author
and giver of all things good.' Sadly though, mankind is failing young people.
Throughout much of the world children are the principal victims of all of society's most
troubling ills. In this decade of the child, it is children, the fruit of humanity in developed
and developing countries, who must quietly endure the ravages of war, hunger, poverty,
disease, and illiteracy. In the so-called advanced countries of the world we are seeing
evidence of a spiritual poverty, a sense of hopelessness and despair, that leads to drug
addiction, crime, gang violence and other forms of anti-social behaviour, particularly
among young people. And in The Bahamas we find ourselves struggling to deal with a
spiritual poverty of our own as we try to respond to rising expectations in a rapidly
changing economic, political and social environment.
"We are not a rich country, but we certainly are not poor. We do not have all we
want; neither do we have all we need; but we do have more than most people have and
for that we should be grateful. Everywhere people are struggling for the very things
many of us take for granted. We have peace, stability, freedom of speech and religion
and the right to go where we please whenever we please. The poor are still with us, and,
like death and taxes, they will always be but, thank God, poverty does not stalk our land
and everyone has access to basic health care and education. Millions of our neighbours,
however, can only dream of living as we do. Yet, how many of us give thanks to God for
the blessings he has bestowed upon us?
"We have known hard times in The Bahamas too but most of you are too young to
remember them, too young to know what your grandparents had to do to survive. You
can't imagine the sacrifice they made to bring you to where you sit today. You are too
young to know that, back then, the only place they had where they could take refuge from
the daily battering their spirit and their pride took from racial and economic oppression
was the church. It may be difficult for you to understand that the only peace many of
them ever knew in those days was that moment when they fell to their knees and asked
God to guide them.
"We were not a Nation then. At that time we could not be a Nation because a
majority of the people were not free to determine their own fate. Some of them knew
freedom would come one day, but many were not so sure. Some of them believed it
because they knew that God would never abandon them; and they knew, too, that He
would make a way out of no way. Still, however, there were others who did not believe.
They believed that they would be free because they had faith and they kept that faith, the
kind of faith the Bible talks about in Hebrews; faith that 'is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.' They had that kind of faith, the kind of faith that
God rewards, and they worked to achieve the things hoped for because they also learned,
long before John Kennedy ever said it, 'that here on earth God's work must truly be our
own.' I should like to remind you young Christian warriors this evening that Bahamians
as a people have always had faith, and though some may waver, and others profess doubt,
as a people we do still trust in the Lord.
"Today your generation of young Bahamians, facing new challenges and seeking
still greater goals, needs the faith that sustained your parents and grandparents during
those trying times. Besides being members of that generation you are also believers in
God so I ask who better than you to spread that faith. If not you, who? And if not now,
"Your world is different from mine. You face a different set of challenges and
problems than those I faced. Your interests and priorities, even your language, have
changed and you are growing up with a global culture in a global village where the whole
world is your backyard. Your music, which is a reflection of much of what your
generation feels and embraces, is constantly changing. Your attitudes about life, love,
work and faith are still being formed, however, and I pray that they are consistent with
what The Bahamas needs to prosper as a Nation for all that you achieve and all that you
believe will rest on the values you adopt during these formative years.
"A government's mandate is primarily the physical world, the material world.
However, the spiritual domain is no less important and it clearly is the province of the
church. Bahamians needed a vision to come this far and, from the day Prince William
landed in The Bahamas and founded Bethel Baptist Church 200 years ago, the church has
played an important role, spiritually strengthening our people for the battle for freedom
and equality. Your generation will need a vision of its own, a vision for the 21st Century,
a vision of the kind of society in which you and your children will want to live. Your
vision may be a new one but, in planning your life and the society you want to build, you
will find that the foundation of your vision will be the same as that which fortified your
forefathers before you. Their foundation was built on three very important things: God,
Family and Country, and I can tell you now that you will not be able to find better ones.
"You see, freedom does have a price. It is not free. Freedom means
responsibility, a responsibility to properly look after our families and ourselves; and
citizenship demands more than simply paying taxes and voting for one's leader. In
addition, each of us has a sacred duty to love and protect this blessed land God has given
to us, to build it up and make it better for future generations. All of us have a stake in
THE PLP WAY
Sir Lynden Pindling's Keynote address at the 39th Convention of the Progressive Liberal
Party, November 4th, 1994
"You see, Fellow delegates, the PLP still sees the role of Government as
'representing the future to the present.' That is what the PLP has always done and that is
what we will always do. Our march to the First World was prematurely aborted, but we
will start again. In our new march, we will adapt that role to the needs of the 21st
Century. We, therefore, in this great 39th Convention, renew our faith in the timeless
search for Justice, Equality, Opportunity, Security and Education. In so doing we offer
hope for the people.
"We have the brains to do it; we have the experience to do it; and we have the
experience to do it; and we have the will to do it. I know we will do it.
"Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates and fellow Bahamians, I have two
grandchildren, both boys and both still too young to understand what it is that together we
have been trying to achieve in this room this week. You have children and grandchildren
too, and I, like you, know that you simply cannot give up on them, leave them to the
police and the misfortunes of fate.
"We have a greater hope than that. You and I hope to build a better Bahamas for
our children and grandchildren to grow up, work and live in and to share with other
Bahamians. I know, like you know, that we can only do that with compassion for the
underprivileged and protection for the least able to protect themselves. That is our hope.
That is the PLP way. That is the only way that will allow rich and poor, black and white,
employer and employee, private entrepreneur and civil servant to live in peace in our
Bahamas. That is the way to bring hope to a suffering people.
"The PLP has done it before. The PLP can do it again. The PLP wiped away
your tears before and eased your aching hearts before. The PLP can do it again. And I
give you my word: the new PLP will do it again."
Sir Lynden Pindling's Remarks at the 37th Annual Convention of the Progressive Liberal
Party at Workers House, Wednesday, January 13th, 1993
"Ours is a truly great Party. A Party of history and achievement. Our victories span a
generation and our influence has spanned the globe. It falls to us in this Party, to you, to
your leaders and to me to hold the bridges against the enemies of our people and to
protect them from the greedy, raging lions that would devour them. But once already, by
our laziness, by our indifference and by our greed we have delivered our people to be
ravished. Never again must we allow that to happen. Never again!
"Let us resolve tonight to hand over to our children a Party which is fleshy and
strong; a Party that is both muscular and fearless; a Party that is lean, mean and clean.
Let us burst out of this place fired up with new lightening; determined to electrify our
people, electrocute their enemies and light up our country. Let us be the PLP we were
born to be. Let the world see in our symbol a handshake to the businessman, a helping
hand to our people and the right hand of God. Raise your hand and feel in it the power of
a people born to greatness. Stretch forth your hands to heaven and feel its power and
with this powerful hand let us begin the work of rescuing this Nation which God gave us
THE BAHAMIAN VALUE SYSTEM AND THE YOUTH
Sir Lynden Pindling's Keynote Address to the 20th National General Convention of the
Progressive Liberal Party, delivered on the evening of October 28th, 1975.
"There are certain socio-cultural factors to be borne in mind. The proximity of
The Bahamas to the United States mainland and the large number of tourist arrivals have
influenced the creation in Bahamians of what may be called a 'tourist mentality.'
"Some young people are unemployed because they are apathetic, some because
they are frustrated and some because they lack any real opportunity to work. Others are
'dropouts' from school and have no marketable skills.
"However, the whole Bahamian society must realize that, to a large extent, it is
partly to be blamed for the problems facing our youth. Our society, by virtue of the high
goals and ideals which it sets, has created certain attitudes which have turned out to be
two-edged swords. Bahamian society has said to our youth, and I was one of the
members of society who carried the message, 'you must have an education, a piece of
paper; you must have a white-collar job.' But society did not realize at the time that
those who could not get either would become so-called 'failures' or 'drop-outs,' and so
on. Our Bahamian society must now rethink its own value-system and modify it
Sir Lynden Pindling's Keynote address at the 39th Convention of the Progressive Liberal
Party, November 4th, 1994
"I firmly believe, fellow delegates, that National service is the key to solving their
manhood problems, that National Service is the key to solving our crime problem, and
that National Service will eventually solve the unemployment problem. For this to
happen, however, National Service will have to be compulsory and it will have to be
comprehensive. The new National Service of which I speak is a programme in human
development, a programme in continuing education. Consequently, it must contain
educational programmes, vocational programmes to teach and to develop skills of
economic importance and it must also contain character building programmes that teach
manhood, responsibility and caring. This kind of National Service will provide young
people with the opportunity and the means to obtain the recognition and earn the respect
"Fellow delegates, our stated concerns and our determination to do something
about crime would be insincere and meaningless if what we do is demonstrated only by
what we are prepared to do to young people and not by what we are prepared to do for
MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS: 1965
Sir Lynden Pindling - Address to the United Nation's Special Committee on
Decolonisation, August 23rd & 24th, 1965.
"Mr. Chairman, I and my delegation consisting of Mr. Cecil V. Wallace-
Whitfield, Mr. Clarence A. Bain, Mr. Milo B. Butler, Mr. Arthur D. Hanna, Mr. Arthur
A. Foulkes, Dr. Doris Johnson and Dr. H. W. Brown extend our deep gratitude to you and
your Committee for acceding to our humble request to be heard on the situation in The
Bahamas in general and, in particular, on the great disquiet we feel about the explosive
circumstances in our country in the hope that we might bring about a victory for the
ideals of peace and democracy which your Committee has so long up-held.
"We wish to inform you that we have simultaneously submitted another petition
to the Secretary of State for the Colonies of the United Kingdom Government.
Unfortunately, the Secretary of State has replied through the Governor of The Bahamas
that he was 'unable to intervene.' I am of the opinion, however, that if the tragic events
which took place in The Bahamas on the 27th April last had taken a serious turn for the
worse, the Secretary of State for the Colonies would have been only too happy to
intervene, even by calling in British troops.
"You will recall, Sir, that the Special Committee's Sub-Committee III has already
considered the question of The Bahamas at its 31st, 32nd, 38th and 39th meetings in
October 1964. At that time it formulated the specific conclusions and recommendations
... from which I from time to time would quote. The United Kingdom has done nothing
to implement those recommendations. Since the information previously made available
to the Committee was incomplete, and in many respects incorrect, I therefore wish to give
a full picture of the political, economic and social situation in our country.
"Let me make it quite clear. We have not come to seek independence for The
Bahamas: under the present conditions, independence would be meaningless. For the last
three centuries a powerful ethnic minority has, with the support of the United Kingdom
Government, controlled the political, economic and social life of the country, and
silenced all opposition. The Bahamas, which has been under the domination of European
powers since the landing of Christopher Columbus in 1492, were often represented as a
tourists' paradise: however, they were anything but a paradise for the indigenous
"According to a 1964 report by the Ministry of Labour there is a work force of
51,948 persons in our islands but these workers have not been able to establish a dynamic
trade union movement because they are hampered by coercive and restrictive legislation.
There are about seventeen trade unions in The Bahamas. The United Bahamian Party,
which is at present in power, has prohibited the formation of a single national union and
sympathy strikes are prohibited. These issues were raised at the time the Trade Union
and Industrial Conciliation Acts of 1958 were being considered but it proved impossible
to get the amendments through Parliament. That Act appeared to contravene at least one
ILO Convention, Convention 98, which has been ratified by the United Kingdom
Government and which makes provision, in article 4, for the development and utilization
of machinery for voluntary negotiation between employers' and workers' organizations.
Yet under our Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act, each industry has to have a
separate union, which meant that the unions were all small. Their effective operating size
was further reduced by the need to establish branches in remote islands scattered over
some 500 miles.
"The Act also makes it illegal for an employer or employers' organization and a
trade union or confederation of trade unions to agree to any system whereby union dues
could be deducted from employees wages at the time of payment. That provision has
definitely restricted the freedom of unions to negotiate agreements in the best interests of
workers. Similarly, the Act made it illegal for union and employer to agree to establish a
union or agency shop in any place of employment. These legal and geographical
restrictions have placed definite limitations on the organization and operation of the trade
"Workers in The Bahamas have on many occasions protested against the situation
in which they were placed. In 1942, a dispute in connection with unsatisfactory wages
and working conditions led to a riot. In 1958, a mass protest which had begun in the
transport industry developed into the country's first general strike. Although the strikers
had not committed a single act of violence, the British government kept troops in the
country for a long period at the expense of the population. It was as a result of that strike
that the Secretary of State for the Colonies had visited The Bahamas to himself
investigate the situation, and propose certain political changes and to urge the
Government to make certain improvements in the country's labour legislation. The result
of those improvements in the field of labour relations was the 1958 Act. There have been
other strikes since then, including one at Andros, where the workers demanded
improvements in wages from the contractors for the Atlantic Underwater Evaluation and
"In the field of social planning, the United Kingdom never urged The Bahamas
Government to implement the provisions of ILO Convention 63 and the country still has
no department of statistics. The building of schools and hospitals are carried out
haphazardly and on the basis of personal preference.
"Trade unions have no say in the planning of public services which directly affect
the people, such as housing, health services or social services; they were not represented
on advisory bodies and they are not consulted about immigration matters. As I speak,
The Bahamas is being inundated by foreigners, many of them unskilled workers, who
overcrowd the labour market. These workers come from Malta, Canada, the United
States, the United Kingdom, the British West Indies, Haiti and other countries around the
world. Present regulations do now require that application be made to the Department of
Immigration for the employment of all persons other than native-born Bahamians or their
children. On many occasions, however, persons are brought in over the objections of the
trade union movement. The Bahamian labour force possesses many of the skills
required. For example, in the hotel and building industries, and they can be trained in
other skills. The trade unions in those industries, however, do not receive adequate co-
operation from the Department of Labour and the Department of Immigration with regard
to the employment or training of Bahamians in preference to imported labour.
"To make matters worse, under the special Act of Parliament creating the Grand
Bahama Port Authority, even those regulations on labour which applied in the rest of The
Bahamas do not apply in Freeport. Workers are imported without previous application to
the Department of Immigration; construction companies and hotel operators have refused
to recognize trade unions and are victimizing persons who try to organize and lead trade
unions. Since the imported workers are subject to deportation and liable to be returned to
their homeland at any time, they are chary of joining the Bahamian trade-union
movement and thereby hamper its growth.
"The importation of labour also has a political effect since the workers from the
United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the West Indies and other parts of the British
Commonwealth tended to vote to protect the status quo and their own employment but do
not do so necessarily in the best interest of The Bahamas. Continued immigration would
mean that the balance of population - at present about 80 per cent black and 20 percent
white - would be changed in the foreseeable future.
"Foreign investment could enter The Bahamas through the immigration of an
individual businessman, the formation of a Bahamian company by a foreign individual,
or the registration of a foreign company under the Foreign Companies Act. Some control
is exercised over the type of business in which foreign investment is permitted. The bulk
of foreign capital comes from North America and, to a lesser extent, from the United
Kingdom, but no distinction is made between a locally financed company and a company
financed from abroad.
"Although the people have long been asking for improved social conditions, no
low-cost housing programme has ever been started and the lack of hospital facilities and a
sewerage system have been responsible for the reappearance of communicable diseases
in the most populous districts of New Providence.
"All ministers in the Bahamian Cabinet are Bahamian born, with the exception of
one who was granted a special status roughly equivalent to that of being Bahamian born.
They all belong to the merchant oligarchy which has been in control since 1729 and are
of European extraction. Ministers own large blocks of shares in the majority of local
enterprises and benefit from Government contracts, all with the tacit approval of the
United Kingdom government. For example, the Prime Minister is perhaps the biggest
road-builder in the country. The Minister of Maritime Affairs is a major supplier of
lumber and hardware goods to the Government and perhaps the biggest ship-owner in the
country. The Minister of Agriculture has large farming interests and supplies air-
conditioning material to the Government as does the Minister of Electricity. The
Minister of Finance and Tourism is the head of a food chain, an insurance company and a
law firm which often represents his Ministry and his clients at the same time.
"That state of affairs has always existed. Before ministerial government was
introduced executive government was shared by public boards, whose chairmen and
members acted in the same manner as the present ministers. At the time of the 1963
Constitutional Conference the point was raised by both the representatives of the
Progressive Liberal Party and the Labour Party. The United Kingdom representatives
were appraised of the situation and although they agreed that such conduct was not
entirely satisfactory, they still considered that in the circumstances it might be advisable
for them to leave things as they are. The matter of conflict of interest was also discussed
in great detail in the House of Assembly after ministerial government was introduced in
January, 1964 but no action has been taken.
"Every single member of the Government engages in business, and receives
lucrative government contracts at the same time. The United Kingdom is aware of this
and the fact that because of such a system, it is easy to imagine the abuse and corruption
to which it might give rise, yet nothing has been done. While the ruling group is
accumulating great wealth, it is also maintaining an iniquitous method of taxation; and
the wealthy are by no means bearing their fair share of the tax burden. There is no
income tax and very little direct taxation in The Bahamas. The greater part of the
revenue is gathered from customs duties and ad valorem stamp taxes which are passed on
ultimately to the consumer. This is one of the reasons why the cost of living in our
islands is abnormally high. The over-all picture of the present situation in The Bahamas
is that the country is literally, economically and financially, in the very same hands that
exercise political control. Moreover, for three centuries, the British have never
introduced any development plan for the islands to improve the situation of the people
both socially and/or economically, and we are now paying for centuries of neglect.
"On the question of education, it is immediately obvious that the present system is
inadequate to meet present needs and even more so for future needs. Less than 6 per cent
of the school population receive grammar-school education. The system is antiquated
and classes are overcrowded. Moreover, almost three-quarters of the teaching staff of the
lower grades are untrained, a substantial proportion of whom are barely literate. This is
additional clear evidence of absolute neglect. The result is that in 1964, out of 300 Out
Island children who sat for the grammar-school entrance examination, only thirteen
qualified to enter, making it abundantly clear that a crash programmed for training
teachers was an absolute necessity. We believe that the reason why this is not mentioned
in official statements is that the children of the ruling minority do not suffer from the
same deplorable state of education since they generally attend a racially segregated
school in Nassau. This school is a privately-owned school which is also racially and
economically segregated. It includes primary and grammar-school grades and is operated
by a private company. No child can attend the school unless his parents are share-holders
in the company or unless he was recommended by a share-holder. I do not know the
exact fees charged by the school but they are much higher than those prevailing in the
secondary schools maintained by the Government or by religious organizations. Happily
no segregated schools are maintained by the Bahamian Government.
"... with regard to the average earnings of Bahamians when compared with the
fees charged by Government-controlled schools, according to a recent survey made by a
foreign agency, the average yearly income of a Bahamian is about £200, which does not
go very far when the cost of living is taken into account. The Government High School
charges a low annual fee of £10.10.0, which includes tuition and books, and is now
attended by more than 500 children. The fees in the Anglican and Methodist secondary
schools are approximately four times those of the Government High School and the fees
in the boys' Roman Catholic secondary school are somewhat higher still, which may be
explained for by the fact that the Roman Catholic secondary school gives a more
comprehensive type of education which includes some practical training. There are just
under 100 seats available at the Government High School every year while the present
school population in The Bahamas approaches 30,000.
"With regard to the right to vote, it is necessary from the outset to distinguish
between principles and their application. After the general strike in January 1958, the
franchise was extended to all males and plural voting was limited to some degree. Later,
in 1961, the vote was granted to women. However, in practice, there is still great
inequality in representation. Before 1930, the bulk of the population of The Bahamas
used to live in the Out Islands. Subsequently, however, there were large shifts of
population so that by 1962, only one-third lived in the Out Islands and two-thirds in
Nassau. Nevertheless, representation has continued to be based on the old figures. In the
1962 elections, the delimitation of constituencies was such that the Progressive Liberal
Party, which polled 44 per cent of the total vote, managed to secure only 24.3 per cent of
the representation while the United Bahamian Party, with 36.6 per cent of the votes
polled, secured 57.6 per cent of the representation. By this means, the voice of the people
was effectively muffled.
"The constitutional conference which was held after the 1962 elections failed to
establish a system to meet our two basic requirements which are majority rule and the
right of each citizen to have his vote counted at equal value. The distribution of seats
which was embodied in the report of the Constitution was presented to the participants of
the Conferences on a 'take it or leave it' basis and it was not possible further to discuss it.
Moreover, since the coming into force of the Constitution, the United Bahamian Party
seems determined not to abide even by the spirit of that Constitution and the result is
even more glaring inequality of electoral representation. The ruling oligarchy seems
determined to abandon any pretence of upholding the principles of majority rule and
equality in voting. Although the Constitution calls for the distribution of votes and seats
to be made in the most equitable manner practicable, on 27th April 1965 the Government
adopted electoral provisions under which Harbour Island, for example, which had a
population of only 3,236 was given two seats, which was as many as Grand Bahama and
Bimini which had a population of 9,882.
"There is a Constituencies Commission, provision for which was made in the
Constitution that came into force in January 1964. Although the Commission did make
certain recommendations, we are of the opinion that those recommendations do not
establish equal representation. The present Order on Constituencies still contains gross
inequalities and does not provide for majority rule which is the most pressing issue which
prompted my delegation to appeal to the Special Committee and gave rise to
demonstrations by thousands of people all over the island of New Providence. The
Government is adamant in opposing the repeal of the Order on Constituencies since in its
present form, it still leaves the political control of the islands in the hands of a small
minority of the people. By 'small minority,' I mean not only the ethnic minority which
governs the country but also the numeric minority which might elect a majority of the
"We wish to point out that the Constitution provides for a fixed basis of
representation for the next general election. There would be seventeen seats for the
island of New Providence and twenty-one seats for the remainder of the islands.
According to the Constitution and the general directions given to the Constituencies
Commission, the representation for each member is supposed to be as nearly equal as is
reasonably practical. My party objected to the present Constituencies Order because the
constituencies in areas of mass population in New Providence had more voters than
constituencies in well-to-do areas. In trying to establish our case for The Bahamas
Legislature, my party sent out survey teams to prove this. The Constituencies
Commission had arrived at a mean of 1,600 voters per constituency in New Providence,
but our survey showed that in the mass population areas the average was 2,400 and, in the
more well-to-do areas, it was 1,250. In the Out Islands, where the twenty-one remaining
seats were to have been distributed as equally as possible, no attempt whatsoever was
made to justify the principle. The only changes made were the addition of one seat in the
Andros constituency and one seat in the Grand Bahama constituency. That, in my party's
opinion, still left grossly inequitable representation given to Grand Bahama and Bimini,
Andros and Berry Islands, Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island and Cat Island.
You would notice, of course, that I have deliberately omitted Acklins, Inagua and San
Salvador. This is because provision was made in the Constitution for those three special
areas, although my party did express its disagreement and reservations in that regard at
the time of the Constitutional Conference.
"In these circumstances, we are convinced that the Opposition can no longer fulfil
its functions; it cannot lend itself to what is in fact nothing more than a dictatorship
disguised as a democracy. In order to have a fair evaluation and distribution of the seats,
it is our view that the present Order should be revoked and new recommendations made
based on the principle of majority rule. You may also be aware that my party's
programme of electoral reform was embodied in a memorandum submitted to the United
Kingdom's Colonial Office at the time of the Constitutional Conference in May 1963.
The following reforms were requested at the time: (1) there must be no equivocation with
regard to the principle of majority rule; (2) specific instructions, not vague and general
instructions such as those now embodied in the Constitution, must be given to the
Constituencies Commission, which must ensure that representation was representation of
people and not of land areas; and (3) single-member Constituencies must be created
since, in our party's opinion, that was the best way of ensuring that the will of the people
"It may surprise you to learn that I was advised just a week ago that the Secretary
of State wished to discuss with me during his visit to The Bahamas in October the
difficulties that, from his point of view, had arisen in connection with the delineation of
constituencies. However, since the Secretary of State at the same time stated that he was
unable to intervene in the overall matter, I failed to see the purpose of the proposed
discussions. The situation is such that we wonder how much longer the United Kingdom
Government will continue to close its eyes and ignore the recommendations of the
Special Committee. The people of The Bahamas are hopeful that the Committee will use
its good offices to induce the United Kingdom to establish on the Islands a system by
which the voice of the majority can be heard and the principle of majority rule observed.
The Committee should also use its good offices to see that a positive programme is
implemented with the greatest possible dispatch to improve the level of education of
Bahamians so that they can assume responsibility for their own affairs at the very highest
"Indeed, we would like to see the immediate implementation of all applicable
recommendations on The Bahamas made by Sub-Committee III, with particular emphasis
on the following: (1) the recommendation confirming that the provisions of the
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples are fully
applicable to The Bahamas and applied by the Administering Power in accordance with
the freely expressed will of the people; (2) the recommendation that the Administering
Power should be invited to take concrete measures without delay to enable the people of
The Bahamas to discuss their views on their political development freely in accordance
with the provisions of the Declaration; (3) and, most importantly, the recommendation
that the Special Committee should consider the possibility of sending a visiting mission
to The Bahamas to obtain additional information on the situation there. My delegation
specifically invites the Special Committee to itself send a visiting mission to The
Bahamas if only to verify the accuracy or inaccuracy of the reports and the information
we have given. There should be nothing to hide in The Bahamas and we hope that the
United Kingdom's delegation would see fit to withdraw whatever reservations it might
have on the subject.
"My delegation would also like the Special Committee to recommend that the
Administering Power repeal the legislation which at present limits the right of trade
unions to negotiate freely with employers and employers' organizations and prevent them
from forming whatever type of organization the people feel is best to achieve their aims.
My delegation would like the Special Committee to recommend to the Administering
Power that, in the interests of the Bahamian people, United Nations special agencies such
as UNESCO, FAO and WHO play an important part in preparing The Bahamas for self-
determination. And, lastly, Mr. Chairman, my delegation would like the Special
Committee to recommend the revocation of the existing Constituencies Order which
impedes the free expression of the majority will of the Bahamian people and denies them
their right to self-determination."
Keynote address at the 21st Annual Progressive Liberal Party Convention, 1974
"The statistics available to me indicate that the annual aggregate profits of local
businesses have been enough in recent years to finance much of the required investment
in The Bahamas and should be able to finance even more over the next decade. What the
historic problem has been is that the Bahamian businessman is a trader and not an
investor; he usually hoards his money rather than invest it. Roughly $2 out of every $3
made here in The Bahamas have been sent out of the country where, very likely, these
profits were subject to taxation. It is estimated that if only 50% of the profits earned this
year in The Bahamas were re-invested in The Bahamas and if this percentage were to rise
gradually to 75% over the next ten years, our dependence on new foreign investment
would be reduced to a low level.
"This new investment of Bahamian capital would fuel full employment.
Bahamian capital would not create a burden on our balance-of-payments and so it would
add even greater stability to our Bahamas."
Sir Lynden Pindling - Personal statement to the Honourable House of Assembly by the
Member for South Andros the Right Honourable Sir Lynden Pindling - July 7th, 1997
"As this is the last occasion on which I shall speak in this Honourable House as
one of its members, I beg your leave to make this personal statement in the form of a
"Forty-one years ago, Madame Speaker, before some honourable Members sitting
here were even born, I entered this Chamber for the first time to begin what I could little
have known then would become for me the journey of a lifetime. I was all of 26 then -
young, ambitious, bristling with energy and idealism and oh so full of hope for the future.
As fate would have it, I had just a few days before been elected Parliamentary Leader of
my own Party.
"And so it was with this added burden and honour that on the 9th of July, 1956 I
strode into this Honourable House for the first time as one of its Members in the company
of five Progressive Liberal Party colleagues, Milo Butler, Sr., Cyril Stevenson, Clarence
Bain, Randol Fawkes and Sammie Isaacs, to begin my life's work in these august halls of
"It is hard to believe that that was forty-one years ago. Winston Churchill once
said that a fortnight in politics is a lifetime. By that calculation it could be said that I
have spent something approaching an eternity in politics.
"But it is time now to close the book and say goodbye!
"As I look around this Chamber for the last time, Madame Speaker, you will
indulge me if I say that I see before me not only the faces of the honourable members
here assembled but the faces of all those friends and foes who at various times over the
past 40 years lay claim to the high honour of representing some section of the Bahamian
people in this ancient and honourable Assembly. Their voices, with few exceptions, have
long been stilled by death's rude hand; the antagonisms which once upon a time we bore
one another have long since dissolved; and the smoke from the distant time in which we
battled here has long since cleared.
"But today, I remember them all, the friends and foes, whose voices, whose ideas,
and whose love for their country once illuminated this arena but who today live on only
in the memories of those of us who knew them: men like Milo Butler Sr., Stafford Sands,
H. M. Taylor, Roland Symonette, Clarence Bain, H. G. Christie, Sammy Isaacs, Eugene
Dupuch, Spurgeon Bethel, Carleton Francis, Asa Pritchard, Preston Albury, Shadrach
Morris, Garnet Levarity, Sinclair Outten, George Thompson, Trevor Kelly, Simeon
Bowe, Cecil Wallace- Whitfield, brave men and patriots all who, with dozens of other
men, good and true, now lay dead but to whose memory, as former members of this
House and as builder of The Bahamas, I pay tribute today.
"In doing so, Madame Speaker, I am drawn to that wonderfully moving poem by
George Barker whose closing lines express far more eloquently than I ever could the
sentiments I bear towards these fallen warriors, some of whom I once upon a time fought
hard against but to all of whom I feel so fully reconciled today. I reach out to them in
tribute through the poem whose lines are these:
'They are there in my recollection now
Golden-tongued, loud-mouthed, alive and dead
Not a word they uttered, not an inflection
Of those once glittering voices or what they say
Fails to evoke an echo or an answer
From a devotion deeper than memory lends
And to those voices then
The heart, like an old dancer, rises
And takes hands with friends.'
"Madame Speaker, in tracing the line of memory, as I do today, over the past four
decades of my life on the front lines of Bahamian politics, there are so many things that
come forcefully to mind and so many persons to whom I feel so deeply indebted.
"First and foremost, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Almighty God
for having preserved me for so long in all the many arenas in which I have fought, up and
over the many hills I have climbed and across all the many valleys I have walked over the
past forty years. Were it not for His grace and His mercy, I would have lain a fallen
warrior on the field of battle long ago. Instead, He sustained me and held me safe. In my
darkest hours, when all seemed lost, He was always there. So let there be no doubt about
this in anyone's mind. It was by His will alone that I was spared. And it was through His
power that I survived, from one year to the next, down through all the years, amidst all
the many and various snares, treacheries and perils of politics. For those generous
blessings, I thank my God and give all honour and praise and glory to Him. Without
Him, I would have accomplished nothing. I realize that now so very profoundly and I am
deeply humbled by this.
"Next, Madame Speaker, I should like to say publicly how very grateful I am to
my wife, my children and my now deceased parents for their unflinching love and
loyalty. Theirs has been a collective and singular devotion larger than any husband,
father or child could have ever asked for and certainly much more than was justly
merited. Although my parents are no longer of this world, I know with assurance that in
spirit they are with me still. To my gentle mother and my stern father, then, I send out
today this message: that never was there a son more indebted to his parents for the
unstinting love and devotion showered upon him than the son of Arnold and Viola
Pindling who today offers up this small but heartfelt tribute in loving memory of them. I
owe them both so very much and I miss them more than words can say.
"To my dear wife, Marguerite, and to our wonderful children of whom we are so
proud, Obie, Leslie, Michelle and Monique, I want the world to know that without the
loving atmosphere of the home we created for each other and the peaceful and gracious
haven they created for me, my journeys into the large and less forgiving world without
would have exacted a toll far greater than I could have been able to pay. As it was,
however, our constant closeness, especially our daily luncheons together as a family,
reinforced us all, insulating us against the fearsome noise and poisoned arrows of the
outer world to which I belonged. Would that I could have better shielded you against all
the slings and arrows, some of which, I know, slipped by me only to find their wounding
mark in you.
"Forgive me, then, if you please, Madame Speaker, if I say that the most singular
regret I still have today is that, however hard I tried, I was never fully successful in so
concentrating the attention of my detractors that my family was kept safely outside the
telescopic sights mounted on their political rifles. For this failure on my part to shield
them whole, and for the injuries they suffered in consequence, I blame only myself and
ask for their forgiveness.
"As for my wife, Madame Speaker, a very special word, if I may. It has been my
singular good fortune to have at my side from the time of my entry into electoral politics
in 1956 to my exit in 1997, a princess whose bearing, grace and charm made her the toast
of four continents and a lady whose fortitude in the face of the most daunting adversities
and whose unwavering devotion to me and what I stood for contributed mightily to my
survival and my successes in public life. To Marguerite, my wife, my lover, my
homemaker and my best friend of forty-one years, let me say this then, that for her
support, her understanding, her tender and constant care and her boundless love and
devotion, I am grateful beyond measure.
"Madame Speaker, for nearly all of my adult life, from as far back as 1953 when I
returned home from London, there has been another family, a vast, extended family in
my life. That family is the Progressive Liberal Party. More than just a family, Madame
Speaker, the PLP, in a very real sense, has been my life. I have been with it almost from
its birth. I was there when I could only crawl. I helped it learn to run. I watched it grow
tall and strong. I was there in all its struggles, amidst all the storms and early setbacks as
my colleagues and I travelled up and down this island, from one end of this archipelago
to the next, preaching the gospel of equal opportunity, racial equality, social upliftment
and majority rule. I have remained with this extended family ever since, through all our
later successes and failures, in good times and in bad, and I will remain with it, and be a
part of it, until the day I die.
"Political parties, Madame Speaker, are made of flesh and blood and they are
made by the perseverance and sacrifice of the men and women who dedicate their lives to
them. So it has been with the PLP family to whom I owe so much, and to whom this
country owes so much, firstly, for leading the march to Majority Rule and Independence
and for laying the political, social and economic foundations for a modern society and,
secondly, for nurturing and training virtually every single black political statesman of
note over the last 40 years: Sir Randol Fawkes, the Honourable Arthur D. Hanna, the late
Sir Cecil Wallace- Whitfield, the Honourable Paul L. Adderley, His Excellency, Sir
Orville Turnquest, the Honourable Sir Clement Maynard, the Honourable Perry G.
Christie and, lest we forget, the most illustrious protege of mine thus far, the Right
Honourable Hubert Alexander Ingraham.
"But today, Madame Speaker, I should like to say how especially grateful I am to
all those brave men and women of the Progressive Liberal Party who have supported me
and my Party so loyally through the years. I would be taxing your patience, Madame
Speaker, if I sought to name them for their numbers are far too great to bear a roll-call.
But their faces are nonetheless in the thousands before me now as I look back over the
distance we have come together in the last 41 years. With few exceptions, Madame
Speaker, these persons of whom I speak have never sat in this House, neither wanting nor
seeking a status above their fellows. Most of them never asked for anything, seeking
neither recognition nor reward for their steadfast struggles in the great causes in which
we marched together for so many years. Poor and humble folk, for the most part, they
have lived out their lives not in the spotlight of popular acclaim but in the shadows of
those of us upon whom that spotlight habitually directs its beam. Today, I am more
keenly aware than ever of the enormous debt I owe them - women like Ena Hepburn,
Effie Walkes and Gelelia Wells and men like Solomon Campbell, Benjamin Forbes and
Kermit Rolle, some of whom are here today. Without thousands like them, who even
named their sons after me, without their loyalty in good times and in bad, without their
stalwart support in the thick of all our many battles, Lynden Pindling would never have
amounted to anything in the life of his country. I have tried never to forget that and never
to forget them.
"Leaders, we must not forget, do not make themselves. They are made instead by
the people they lead, by the people who believe in them and by the people who are
prepared to follow them not out of fear, or because it may be the in-thing to do, or
because of some hypnotic spell, but because deep down there is a faith that moves them
to lift us up to a height above their own in the hope that, from the lofty perch to which
they have raised us, we can see what they cannot and, that having seen, we, as their
leaders, can point the way forward into the tomorrows that await us all. And so, to all my
extended family in the Progressive Liberal Party, I thank you from the bottom of my
heart for the warmth and comfort of your love and fellowship and for your countless
sacrifices all through the many years we have shared together.
"But, Madame Speaker, I have reserved a special word of appreciation for the
people of that continent to the West we call Andros, especially the people of Kemp's
Bay, who, in eight successive elections, bestowed upon me the privilege and honour of
representing their interests in this Honourable House. A finer people are nowhere to be
found in this Commonwealth, a strong, hardy and loving people who have supported me
so faithfully all through our many years together. I am truly grateful for the opportunity
for service they gave me in 1967 and then so generously renewed for me without fail over
the ensuing 30 years.
"It is not to my family, the PLP and the good people of South Andros alone,
however, that I extend my gratitude, Madame Speaker. I am also truly grateful to the
entire Bahamian family - PLP and FNM, black and white, young and old - for allowing
me to be of service to our country, especially during the most critically formative period
in our country's history.
"Madame Speaker, with the possible exception of the Emancipation from Slavery,
no pair of events in the history of our country will ever be accorded greater significance
than the achievement of Majority Rule in 1967 and the attainment of National
Independence in 1973. These two milestones are the jewels in the crown of Bahamian
history. Their brilliance outshines all others and their significance as the ultimate
expressions of the freedom of the Bahamian people will endure to the end of time. It is
for me, therefore, a source of immense satisfaction and pride that it was given to me to
play a leading role in this exciting journey to freedom and self-determination. For the
opportunity thus afforded me, I am indeed most grateful to all the people of The
"I am also grateful that it was also given to me and my Party to pioneer the
creation of a modern, upwardly-striving, socially progressive society. In this regard, it
perhaps bears remembering, Madame Speaker, that when the Progressive Liberal Party
came to power thirty years ago, its primary mission was declared to be two-fold. The
first part of the mission was to rescue the downtrodden black majority from the centuries-
old stranglehold of ignorance to which they had been subjected. This Number One
priority of the government was to be accomplished through a massive commitment to the
education of the sons and daughters of farmers and fishermen, civil servants and artisans,
hotel workers and clerks, taxi-drivers and straw vendors. The second major part of the
mission was to ensure that, once our people had been properly educated and trained for
positions of responsibility, those positions would be available for them and not for
foreigners. This was to be accomplished through a policy known as 'Bahamianization.'
Our policy objectives for Education and Bahamianization, therefore, went hand- in-hand.
"On both counts, I think we succeeded rather well. In the space of a single
generation, hundreds, and then thousands, of Bahamians acquired a first-rate education at
the expense of the State. Through education and training, new opportunities for lucrative
employment opened up and the policy of Bahamianization ensured that those jobs were
filled by Bahamians. The result was the creation of a whole new middle-class of
upwardly striving, upwardly mobile Bahamians sprawled across brand-new residential
subdivisions and holding down jobs and professions that few of us would ever have
thought possible before the advent of black majority government.
"In this connection, Madame Speaker, I must single out for special praise, my
friend and comrade, the Honourable Arthur D. Hanna whose name will forever be
synonymous with 'Bahamianization.' Inspired by his nationalist fervor and deeply-held
political principles, it was he, more than any other, who made sure that the Government's
policy on Bahamianization took root as a key tenet of state policy. For his clarity of
vision and courageous determination in this regard and for his key role in advancing the
case for Bahamian Independence, and for all his many other accomplishments in the
service of our Nation, I salute him most especially today.
"Madame Speaker, the achievements of the Progressive Liberal Party
Government in the sphere of social development were no less notable. Conscious, as we
were, of the need to effect dramatic improvements in the living conditions of our people
while at the same time providing greater security for the health of their families,
successive PLP Governments committed massive resources to infrastructure
development, health care and housing. An extensive, nation-wide network of health care
facilities offering sophisticated medical care to the poor at little or no expense was
created while low-cost housing was produced on a massive scale, rescuing, first,
hundreds, and then thousands of Bahamians from the squalor of sub-standard housing.
"Crowning all these successes, Madame Speaker, was a system of social security
to provide a rational and dependable framework of financial assistance for the poor, the
aged and the sick. It was a much criticized idea when we introduced it in 1972 but today
no Bahamian can even imagine doing without National Insurance. Indeed, Madame
Speaker, of all the social innovations introduced under my Government, National
Insurance is the one of which I am personally most proud because it has so directly
impacted on the lives of so many thousands of young and old Bahamians in every island
of The Bahamas, enhancing their sense of well-being and assisting them at times of crisis
when their need is greatest.
"And so, Madame Speaker, when I look back on those achievements of the
Progressive Liberal Party Government and when I think of all the other varied splendours
we helped make possible, like the electrification of The Bahamas, the creation of
Bahamasair, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the College of The Bahamas and the
Bahamas Tourism Training Centre; the inauguration of public television and the
Bahamas Games; the establishment of The Bahamas as one of the leading Merchant Ship
Registries in the world; the development of the tourism industry to the point where more
than 3 million tourists were visiting annually and spending in excess of one billion
dollars; and when, Madame Speaker, I recall the vital role we in this small country played
on the national stage in helping to secure the release of President Nelson Mandella and in
helping to set the stage for majority rule in South Africa, I know that all my efforts were
not in vain and that I can take with me, as I leave this place, some small sense of
satisfaction and pride that during my time in office, I was able to do some little good in
enhancing the life and progress of the Bahamian people.
"I know only too well, of course, that there is more to be done, but I also know
that there will always be more to be done. I know too that I was less than perfect; that
along with the successes, there were failures and disappointments. For these, and for all
my other shortcomings, I express my deepest sorrow and regret to all my countrymen.
When all I did for good is put in the balance against all I did for ill or failed to do at all, I
hope that future generations will not find me sorely wanting. But that is a judgement I
leave to them and to future chroniclers of the wars I fought and of the times in which I
"And so, Madame Speaker, I have come to the end of my time in front-line
politics and in this place. I will therefore resign as a member of this Honourable House
with effect from this Wednesday, the 9th of July, 1997 when I shall have completed
exactly forty-one years of unbroken service as a Member of Parliament.
"A little more than half a century ago, Madame Speaker, when the last World War
was finally over and he knew that because of his advancing years there would be no more
battles for him to fight, the great American General, George S. Patton, was moved to
reflect upon the tale of an ancient Roman tradition which held great meaning for him now
that he was at the end of his long and turbulent career as warrior. He commended the tale
not only to himself but to all who would come after him just as today I would commend it
to all here present and to all those who will come after us, no less than I commend it to
myself. The tale General Patton told went like this:
'For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars were given the
honour of a triumph: a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and
musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories together with carts laden
with treasure and captured armaments.
'The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before
him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood in the chariot with him or rode the
trace-horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown and
whispering in his ear a warning: all glory is fleeting.'
"Human as we all are, it behooves us to hearken well to the timeless message of
that story and to remember that, in modern adaptation, it is no longer the slave who
whispers into our ears but the common man and that it is by this suffrage that we are all
raised up to the exalted positions we hold in this land.
"Madame Speaker, I thank you for your kind indulgence and for your courteous
attention. And through you, I should like to express my warm appreciation to the Right
Honourable Prime Minister for his thoughtfulness in making this occasion possible.
"I am now done, Madame Speaker. I have reached the end of my political
journey. I have run my course. I did my best.
"For you who remain behind, whether in Government or in the party opposite, I
bid you all farewell. May God continue to guide you in your work and may His richest
blessings continue to shine upon you and the people of our beloved Bahamas whom you
are privileged to serve.
"LONG LIVE THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS!"
BAHAMIAN YOUTH AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
"Any policy consideration of the economic and social development of our nation
must ... be essentially geared to involve young people. The goals of young people are
greatly influenced by demographic and socio-cultural factors. They are naturally
conditioned by the aspirations, objectives and goals set by our society at large. But we
must be consciously aware of the value system which motivates young people and their
attitudes towards society; we must appreciate their increasing urge to become involved in
'change,' and we must recognise their desire to participate in the development process of
building a new economic and social order.
"Our own policy then must be based on the awareness of the role of youth as an
important, if not dominant factor, for ushering in social change: and programmes and
activities involving young people will have to be based on the recognition of youth's
contribution to development and an encouragement of initiatives taken by young people.
Young people can and should be seen as powerful agents for national development and
social change. And as agents of social changes they are a most valued national asset.
"In order that our young people may develop fully and become committed to the
development of their country and the welfare of their fellowmen, they should be
organised at all levels and given the opportunity to develop themselves. Whatever their
potentials, however hidden, they should realize them fully. The problems facing young
people blaze across the international headlines daily, yet there are many more young
people who are committed to the positive development of their country than there are
who are committed to the negative destruction of their country.
"The frustrations they feel are very real; the problems they have are very real.
The solutions then must be real and viable! But the problems are ours too; they are the
problems of all Bahamians. There is no room for partisanship and none should seek to
gain any mileage or unduly criticise efforts for we all owe it to our young people to
secure their future. We must all lend a helping hand; the problems are too grave for us to
let them go unnoticed. The efforts are national efforts, irrespective of our political
persuasions, social status or cultural barriers. We all have to build a future for our
country and our young people and, as my brother Deputy Prime Minister would add,
'with our own hands.'" Keynote Address to the 20th National General Convention of the
Progressive Liberal Party, delivered on the evening of October 28th, 1975.
A SOUND PHILOSOPHY OF DEVELOPMENT
"If we are prepared to accept self-discipline, we have the capacity to be self-
reliant. If we can accept self-reliance, we have attained the correct mental attitude to
discuss 'Progress.' In order for there to be progress there must be development. And in
order for development to be orderly and provide the maximum benefit for the maximum
number of people, it is necessary for us to have a clear understanding of and a solid
appreciation for a sound philosophy of development.
"Political independence for The Bahamas is almost meaningless unless it holds
forth the prospect of economic independence. Just as a target date was set for political
independence, a target date should be set for economic independence. And just as the
path to political independence was taken through stages, similarly the path to economic
independence should be taken through stages.
"I envisage The Bahamas developing economically with a mixed economy in
which there is struck the proper balance between public and private enterprise and
between domestic and foreign investment. I believe in government investment on behalf
of the Bahamian people in the essential services of the Nation and in the key areas of its
economy. By 'essential services' I mean public utilities like Water and Electricity. By
'key areas of the economy' I mean economic activities like Tourism, Banking,
Agriculture and Fisheries.
"I believe that such a philosophy of economic development is the only one on
which we can safely base real progress through self-reliance, the only one by which we
can bring about an effective level of control over our national economic environment, and
the only one through which there will be a real maximisation of the benefits to The
Bahamas arising from both domestic and foreign investment.
"A philosophy of development which will promote a mixed economic system
presupposes that there be a central authority which will be responsible for the overall
guidance of the economy in which both the Government and the private sector will
participate and co-operate, consonant with national socio-economic priorities, to
implement the tasks of development.
"Such a philosophy implies that the Government will lend its every support to the
private sector to fulfill legitimate aims, but will also become directly and actively
involved in such a manner as to compliment the private effort and set the pace.
"Such a philosophy, in the context of self-reliance, means that we will preserve
rather than dispose of The Bahamas; it means that we will buy back rather than sell The
Bahamas; it means that we will conserve for this and future generations of Bahamians the
resources of The Bahamas rather than squander them. It means that The Bahamas must
seek to utilize her domestic manpower and financial resources to assert her own
economic identity. In my view, it is only in this way will we be able to develop a greater
direct participation of the people in the emerging economic structure.
"It is important for this Convention to know and understand all this for this is the
course that I propose we follow. It is important for us to know and understand if we are
not to be confused with talk of the free enterprise system. A philosophy of development
based solely on the free enterprise system means the sale of BEC to private individuals
and the sale of BATELCO to private individuals; it means that the Government ought not
to get into any business activity and should leave the nation's economic potential solely
for private individuals to exploit; it means that our economy must be dominated always
by the profit motive, uninspired by a social conscience. No, such a philosophy cannot
survive and prosper in this nation and those who espouse and advocate it know that that is
true. They do not believe in it themselves." Keynote Address to the 20th National
General Convention of the Progressive Liberal Party, delivered on the evening of October
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY
"In the event that there are delegates to this Convention who are of the opinion
that too much is being made of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, who feel that we ought
to be able to get assistance from almost anywhere to help us build our country, let me say
this to you. At the international level there has also emerged a philosophy of
development which holds that a developing country like our Bahamas, should be given
assistance 'in order to help themselves by their own efforts and through self-sustaining
projects and programmes' consistent with the country's own priorities and objectives and
suitable to its own social, natural and national circumstances.
"This principle of international economic assistance was also embodied in the
Lome Convention to which The Bahamas became a signatory in February of this year.
Article 40 of the Convention clearly states that the whole purpose of economic, financial
and technical co-operation is to correct the structural weaknesses in the economies of
developing countries whereby social and economic improvements could be made and
continued in those countries by their own means. What we are being told is that we must
do something to solve our own problems and we must map out our own course of
development and survival according to our own objectives using our own resources rather
than inviting and waiting for somebody else to come and do it for us. In other words, we
must tighten up and toughen up!" Keynote Address to the 20th National General
Convention of the Progressive Liberal Party, delivered on the evening of October 28th,
THE KEY ROLE OF YOUTH
"Throughout the history of mankind, young people have played a key role in
shaping the course of significant international events. It was Thomas Jefferson, who at
age 32 wrote the U.S. Declaration of Independence; it was a young woman who
reclaimed the Territory of France; it was Alexander the Great who ascended the throne at
20 and conquered the world at age 33; it was Julius Caesar who, at age 30, captured 800
cities, conquered 300 nations and defeated three million men; it was 20 year-old
Lafayette who headed the French Army during a critical period in that country's history;
and it was 33 year-old Jesus Christ who revolutionized the world as no one had done
before or since.
"These and many other young people around the world demonstrated in a glaring
way that youth is really more than a time of life; it is a state of mind, a temper of the will,
a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity.
"I am satisfied that the many delegates attending this conference are endowed
with an abundance of courage so as to take a stand for Jesus Christ at a time when it
seems as if the world is prepared to plunge headfirst into a lifestyle where anything goes.
Indeed it seems as if young people around the world are fast approaching the heyday of
individualism where selfishness reigns supreme.
"I say that you are courageous because too many young people have convinced
themselves that Jesus is passe. You are courageous because you are attending this
International Christian Youth Convention at a time when it seems more popular to be
fashionable than faithful; to many youths it is now more popular to be high than hopeful;
you are meeting at a time when it seems more popular to be accepted than exceptional;
indeed nowadays, it seems more popular to be a part of the crowd than a positive
example for the crowd.
"Yes, you are courageous because you have come from some forty diverse
countries to join hands in love and brotherhood, so as to build a bridge of faith at a time
when it is easier to sow seeds of doom.
"I need not remind you that social and behavioral scientists, educators and
economists have all tried to explain the rapid changes in societies. They talk about moral
decay, the multiple-choice syndrome, peer pressure, transient social values, faulty ego
states and overall normlessness. While they may all have a point, I somehow believe that
if we can get back to the basics where the Bible is the blueprint, we would have fewer
problems and more togetherness as occupants of this small planet.
"I consider this conference to be of absolute importance because each of you will
be a part of tomorrow's leadership whether you like it or not. Each of you will write
history by the lives you live, whether you like it or not. Few of you will actually have the
greatness to make or bend history itself, but everyone of you - the 1200 of you - can and
must work to change a small portion of events. In the total of all those acts will be
written the history of your generation.
"You may not have the brilliance of Alexander the Great, the genius of Julius
Caesar, but I am confident that you possess the courage of Christ, and indeed that may be
the most important quality of all; the courage to stand for principles though the heavens
fall; the courage to look a friend in the face and say 'I think dope is for the birds;' the
courage to be law-abiding; the courage to stay in school against the odds; the courage to
be a modern-day Daniel or an Esther in 1983. Courage - that's what the world needs
now." Opening remarks to the International Christian Youth Conference, Queen's
College. Tuesday, August 9th, 1983