Assistant Secretary General Speech


April 20, 2017 - Washington D.C.

H.E. Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General and wife of the late Sir Lynden Pindling
Senator the Hon. Allison Maynard Gibson, Attorney General of The Bahamas
H.E. Elliston Rahming, Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the OAS
H.E. Eugene Newry, Ambassador of the Bahamas to the United States of America
Hon. Paulette Zonicle, Consul General of the Bahamas to Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Sharon Brennen-Haylock, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Bahamas
Esteemed Ambassadors and Alternate Representatives
Distinguished Alternate Representatives of the Permanent Mission of The Bahamas and Members of the Bahamian Diaspora
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon

It is an honor for me to address you this afternoon at today’s ceremony to unveil a bust dedicated to the late Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden Pindling, Former Prime Minister and the Father of the Nation of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. I am equally honored to be in the presence of his wife, Dame Marguerite Pindling and son, Mr. Obafemi Pindling – I welcome you both to the OAS, the House of the Americas.

Born on March 22, 1930, Sir Lynden rose from humble beginnings. The grandson of a Bahamian seaman and son of a retired policeman, he attended Government High School in Nassau from 1943 to 1946. At the age of 18, the young Lynden Pindling left The Bahamas to attend the University of London, where he received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1952. He was called to the English Bar, Middle Temple, as a barrister-at-law in January, 1953, and to The Bahamas Bar that August.

He later joined the minority Progressive Liberal Party shortly after its formation in 1953 and in 1965 was elected to the House of Assembly for the Southern District, New Providence.

During his tenure, Sir Lynden accomplished many goals, the greatest of which was leading the country into independence on July 10, 1973. He also created several acclaimed institutions such as the College of the Bahamas, the Defence Force, Bahamasair, The National Insurance Security Scheme, the Bank of the Bahamas, among others. He implemented fiscal policies that bolstered the Bahamian economy and created a new middle class. He also served as chairman of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was held in Nassau in 1985 and was appointed Chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, which brought pressure upon South Africa to dismantle apartheid.

During his lifetime, Sir Lynden, a political giant and visionary, left an indelible mark upon the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and our region. Having served as Premier of the Colony of the Bahama Islands from 1967-1969 and as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas from 1969-1992, he is the longest serving democratically elected head of government in the hemisphere. He is described as being blessed with superlative oratorical skills, and yet he embodied the ‘common touch’. He fought for social justice and human rights believing that change can occur through peaceful means. Upon accepting membership to the United Nations, Sir Lynden pronounced, “we believe that we can make a contribution in human relations in effecting change without disorder, revolution without bloodshed and in developing a stable economic and social order.” He died in August 2000 at the age of 70.
This afternoon we commemorate his legacy and achievements. I wish to thank the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas for honoring our Organization with the placement of this bust in our Hall of Heroes. Here Sir Lynden will proudly stand among the other great luminaries and historical figures of our hemisphere. I must point out that this is only the second bust of a prominent figure from the CARICOM region that has been featured in this Hall, the first being that of the Jamaican social activist, Marcus Garvey. I urge my fellow CARICOM Member States to endeavor to fill these hallowed halls with more of our great leaders who have charted the course of your nations’ history and in turn made a mark on this hemisphere. Only then will our Organization be a true representation of our hemisphere’s diversity and wealth of talent.

Let us redouble our efforts and continue to carry out the work of our hemisphere’s foreparents and freedom fighters so that the peoples of the Americas can live in peace and prosperity!