P.M Minnis hails Sir. Durward Knowles as ‘great Bahamian patriot’

Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis giving tribute to the late Sir Durward Knowles during funeral services at Ebenezer Methodist Church, March 5, 2018. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis on Monday hailed the late Sir Durward Randolph “Sea Wolf” Knowles as a great Bahamian patriot. Prime Minister Minnis said Sir Durward’s legacy represents the very best of what the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is as a country. Addressing mourners attending Sir Durward’s funeral service held at Ebenezer Methodist Church, East Shirley Street, Prime Minister Minnis said the legendary sailor, Olympian, businessman, and philanthropist was a “great Bahamian who was driven by the stars and the call to service.” He constantly reminded us that life is not only about making a living but more importantly,  (that) life is about making a life worth living. He used his privilege to help the underprivileged and the vulnerable. This was a testament to his faith, and to his commitment to good citizenship,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Just as he reached for the stars, Sir Durward helped many fellow-Bahamians to reach for the stars and to pursue lives of passion and excellence.” Prime Minister Minnis said Sir Durward’s commitment to, and the pursuit of, equality and justice for all, was also commendable, as was his “nobility and largeness of spirit for others.” “As I noted on another occasion, Sir Durward demonstrated the nobility and largeness of spirit to confront certain historic wrongs in our country which some others chose to silently ignore at best.

“He had great empathy for others and was generous in his support of education, athletics, and for persons with physical and mental disabilities. He passionately believed that we all deserved a chance to succeed in life and spent his life helping others to succeed and to fulfill their potential.

“His involvement with the community of persons living with disabilities demonstrated a core value of Sir Durward,” Prime Minister Minnis continued, “it is a value he has taught us about through his lifetime of service. This value is the dignity of all of God’s people, regardless of any circumstance of birth or life.” Prime Minister Minnis said Sir Durward’s true greatness was as a family man and father and as a man deeply committed to community service, volunteerism, and philanthropy.” “A patriot, Sir Durward loved our Bahamas with joy and exuberance. His patriotism and love of country were expressed in his intimate involvement in the One Bahamas Foundation which has as its goals, national unity and cultivating a love of country. “Sir Durward was an accomplished businessman, a man of excellence who exhibited discipline in every field of endeavor,” said the Prime Minister, continuing that he was a world-class athlete and Olympic medalist in his beloved sailing. “He had the tenacity of a rugby player, a sport he played with relish. Yet, as Sir Durward would attest, his true greatness was as a family man and father, and as a man deeply committed to community service, volunteerism, and philanthropy.”

Sir Durward, who passed away February 24, 2018 at the age of 100 years, earned a number of Bahamian, British and international honours and medals during his lifetime, which included: the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce’s Captain of Industry Award, Bahamian Icon Award, Sir Victor Sassoon Golden Heart Award, and the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Sir Durward was “knighted” by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, at Buckingham Palace in 1996 for his outstanding community service and received the Bahamas Order of Merit (BOM) in 1997.  In 1989, Sir Durward was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest tribute awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Sir Durward served as Commodore of the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association (ISCYRA); Co-Chairman of One Bahamas; was a founding member of the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) along with the late Bobby Symonette, and served as Chairman of the Queen’s College Foundation. Sir Durward also served as President of the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled and President of the Rotary Club of East Nassau. In 2014, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force named one of its ships, the HMBS Durward Knowles. “Sir Durward represents the very best of the Bahamian spirit,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Now he has gone on to his greatest reward for a lifetime of service, of generosity, of compassion and love for humanity.”

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