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Full text of "The Speeches of Lynden Pindling"

The Progressive Liberal Party 



The Speeches of 
Sir Lynden Pindling 



http://www.progressiveliberalparty.com 



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 

THEPLPWAY 12 

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 



VICTORY: 1967 

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 
favourable consideration. 

"My Party is not opposed to gambling. But we intend to take a closer look at the 
situation. 

"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 
to come. 

"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 
12th, 1972 

"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 
garden. 

"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 
Bahamian. 

"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 
own.' 

"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 
should. 

"God bless you all!" 



VISION RENEWED 

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 
entrepreneurship . 

"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 
negative influences. 

"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 
neighbour Jamaica. 

"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. 



10 



"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, 
when? 

"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 
being Bahamian." 



11 



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." 



12 



THE PARTY 

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 
all." 



13 



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 
accordingly." 



14 



NATIONAL SERVICE 

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 
they want. 

"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 
young people." 



15 



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 
population. 

"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 



16 



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 
union movement. 

"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 
Testing Centre. 

"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 



17 



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 



18 



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 



19 



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 
representatives. 

"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 



20 



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 
was expressed. 

"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 
level. 

"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 



21 



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." 



22 



LOCAL INVESTMENT 

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." 



23 



FAREWELL ADDRESS 

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 
communication. 

"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 
power. 

"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 



24 



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 



25 



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, 



26 



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 
Bahamas. 

"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 



27 



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 



28 



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 
live. 

"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. 



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"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!" 



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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. 



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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 



32 



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 
28th, 1975. 



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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, 
1975. 



34 



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 



35 



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 



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