Categorized | National News

PLP Founding Member Dies

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) yesterday mourned the loss of the last of its founding members, William ‘Bill’ Cartwright, hailing him as a national hero, a freedom fighter and a trailblazer.

Cartwright died around 4:00 a.m. in hospital.

He was 89.

A native of Long Island, Cartwright’s political activism shaped and figured prominently in the modern political history of The Bahamas.

He, along with the late Sir Henry Taylor and Cyril Stevenson formed the PLP back in 1953.

He dedicated 20 years to public life, serving seven years in the House of Assembly as the representative for Cat Island.

His professional life included his work as a realtor and as the publisher of a then popular magazine.

Prime Minister Perry Christie, while extending condolences to Cartwright’s family yesterday morning in the House of Assembly, hailed him as an individual of great historical importance to the development of true democracy in The Bahamas.

“Mr. Cartwright was a man of great faith and humility,” he said.

“He was always at pains to play down the historical role he had played in laying the foundations for party politics in The Bahamas. Although he personally suffered a great deal for that and for his courageous battle against the racial and economic injustices of his day, he was never one to hold grudges against anyone. He was a man of enormous goodwill and a spirit of reconciliation was deeply embedded in his character.”
The prime minister and PLP leader went on to salute him as a man of enormous goodwill, a brave man and a mighty patriot who nearly 60 years ago struck a blow for freedom that continues to reverberate in the life and political ethos of the country.

Also offering condolences yesterday in the House was the official Opposition.

Echoing Mr. Christie’s sentiments, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis acknowledged Mr. Cartwright’s contributions to shaping the country’s political landscape.

“We are where we are today as a nation in terms of our democratic heritage in no small measure because of William Cartwright,” Dr. Minnis said.

“He is in his own right a founder of the modern Bahamas. We owe him a deep debt of gratitude.”

The Opposition, however, said it is unfortunate that men like Cartwright did not get more recognition in their lifetime, particularly by the party they helped to form.

Meantime the PLP in a press statement said it was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of its last surviving founder.

“The history of the PLP and its inextricable link to the creation of the modern Bahamas and the continued growth and development of this country are testaments to the relevance and timelessness of the vision of Bill Cartwright. The Bahamas is a better place because of Bill and we owe him a debt of gratitude,” the party said.

In recognition of Cartwright’s special historical importance, Prime Minister Christie said a state-recognised funeral will take place at a date to be announced.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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