Categorized | Featured, National News

Gov’t To Advance National Heroes Bill- Cartwright Laid To Rest In State Funeral


Although many feel that the last surviving founder of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) William ‘Bill’ Cartwright did not get the recognition he deserved in life, his death has prompted the Christie administration to renew its commitment to ensure that national heroes are given their rightful honours.

During Cartwright’s state recognised funeral yesterday at St. Gregory’s Anglican Church, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that he intends to enact the National Heroes Bill, which was passed under his former administration.

“I’ll ask the minister of culture and the government leader in the House to bring that legislation forward,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“We have legislated for appropriate Bahamians honours, including that of national heroes, to have the regulations promulgated so that we may in fact stick a pin at this juncture in our history and our development and make a turn so that over the ensuing period we are able to create value for the honour system enabling our people to truly understand what it means and represents to the ethos of our country.”

In the week since his death, Cartwright has been hailed as a national hero and a freedom fighter – one who is considered the father of party politics in The Bahamas.

But during his sermon, head of the National Heroes Committee and rector of St. Gregory’s Anglican church, Fr. Sebastian Campbell said it was a shame that Cartwright – a man whose vision shaped the architecture of the modern political system – never got the honour he truly deserved.

He noted that without Cartwright’s vision, there would be no Lynden Pindling, no Majority Rule and no independence.

Fr. Campbell pulled no punches during his sermon. In fact, he blasted the government calling it extremely lazy, especially when it comes to designating national heroes.

“Our National Heroes Committee seeks to do for people in life what this country would do for them in death and we pray God one day we will catch up,” Fr. Campbell said.

He said he was disturbed that Bahamians with lesser contributions to the country’s development seemingly receive more accolades than Cartwright.

“People of lesser pedigree, who cannot stand in the shadow of William “Bill’ Cartwright, overshadow him in accolades heaped upon them,” he said.

“Many hold high colonial awards that should have no place 45 years into Majority Rule and 39 years into independence. Those who sacrificed nothing, gave up nothing, now have roadways and super structures named in their honour.”

Cartwright dedicated 20 years to public life, seven of which he served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cat Island.

He was also founder of the successful monthly magazine “Bahamian Review,” which was read in over 40 countries as well as the first tourist publication, “The Pocket Guide to The Bahamas.

He even served in the U.S. army as a war correspondent in North Korea.

As realtor, he opened the Peardale Subdivision and then Queens Park.

Fr. Campbell’s sermon even prompted Prime Minister Christie to deviate from his prepared speech.

He again reiterated the importance of ensuring that the country’s history is accurately recorded, written and integrated into the educational system.

“I no longer have to admonish [anyone]; I just have to have it done. One of the things we must do and have done under the aegis of the College of The Bahamas and ultimately the University of The Bahamas, to move immediately to record the history of our country, to fill in the gaps that have be left by those who have authored their own experiences.”

Cartwright was laid to rest at Sacred Heart Cemetery.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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