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Christie Lauds Nottage

Perry Christie - Issues of the Day (Top Photo)

Perry Christie - Issues of the Day (Top Photo)

A teary eyed former Prime Minister Perry Christie said he is one of the many persons who were the last to speak to former Cabinet minister Dr. Bernard Nottage before he died and although their relationship had its temporary downfalls, it transcended those divisions.

Mr. Christie shared defining moments stretching way back to primary school yesterday, while appearing as a guest on a special issue of Love 97’s radio talk show Issues of The Day yesterday with host Wendall Jones.

In a solemn reflection, Mr. Christie said Dr. Nottage distinguished himself by an uncompromising commitment to efficiency and effectiveness in government.

“You always knew you were going to get the very best from BJ. He was going to give you the best effort and I knew when he was slowing down because around the Cabinet table in recent times he became quieter, less participatory and very introspective and very disciplined at not allowing others to see what he was facing and suffering,” he said.

“An extraordinarily private person, who took what we now know is the most serious set of illnesses he had and he kept it to himself.  Suffered by himself and I presume with his wife and some family members and he kept it away from his colleagues and never allowed us to feel sorry for him.”

Mr. Christie shared that when he asked Dr. Nottage’s wife Portia if her husband was calm when he died, she told him yes and that he looked very peaceful.

He said Mrs. Nottage added that a tear fell from his eye as he took his last breathe.

‘Man of Integrity Misunderstood’

Mr. Christie pointed out that it was a great tragedy that the former minister of national security was so misunderstood, even by police officers.

“I sat with BJ during a conference with the Police Staff Association. I wanted to hear them talk to him and my minister talk to them and he began his speech by saying he was the son of a police officer who never lived to see him become an accomplished physician,” he said.

“He said I love police officers and he began to cry in the presence of the staff association. He was so emotional. What they got recently on the 25th of May was entirely due to BJ. ”

On May 25, 2017 police officers received their long overdue overtime pay, promised since 2013.

“After the court case and the court ruled that we should either pay overtime or in lieu of overtime, he fought with me as a minister of finance tenaciously to make it a dollar towards police officers,” Mr. Christie added.

“I don’t think he’s ever been given credit for it.”

Moreover, Mr. Christie recognized Dr. Nottage as a man of the utmost integrity, as he sought to prove that true.

“When you look back at his life and you ask yourself the question, ‘have I ever heard his name connected to anything to do with the lapse in integrity? And you will find that he isn’t there.” Mr. Christie said.

‘A Renaissance Man’

These sentiments are similar to those of former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson’s as she too reflected on the life of Dr. Nottage.

She noted that he was more than a politician.

“In my view, I would call him a renaissance man. I think he exemplified this unique attributes of Bahamians so many of whom are able to rise from the most humble beginnings to achieve the highest heights,” she said.

Meantime, Dr. Nottage’s childhood friend Former BAMSI President Godfrey Eneas also lauded him as a “gifted” individual.

“I call BJ gifted because as Mrs. Gibson said, BJ went to Aberdeen University.

“Many people may not be cognizant of it, but Dr. Nottage won the chemistry award. He was the best chemistry student.” he said.

Dr. Nottage who died at 71, recently ran unsuccessfully against the Free National Movement’s newcomer Travis Robinson for the Bain and Grants Town constituency, which he represented for a number of years.

He was a PLP member of parliament from the early 80s.

He held the PLP Kennedy seat prior to leaving to form the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR).

Having lost to the PLP in 2002, he returned as minister of health in 2006 under the Christie administration and ran in Bain and Grants Town in 2007 successfully.

He retained that seat until Travis Robinson unseated him on May 10.

Additionally, he was also the leader of government business in the House of Assembly during the tenure of the former administration.

Dr. Nottage also ran unsuccessfully against former Prime Minister Perry Christie for the leadership of the PLP in 1997 and 2009.

He was also a former international track and field star and a gynecologist by profession.

Dr. Nottage died at a Florida hospice on Wednesday evening with family members by his side.

The husband, father, friend, colleague and policymaker was 71 years of age.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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