Prime Minister paid tribute to Sir Arthur at his 90th Birthday Celebration

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Sir Arthur takes the podium. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)

Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis hailed Sir Arthur A. Foulkes as a visionary and a nation builder during the former Governor General’s 90th Birthday Celebration on Friday, May 4, 2018. Sir Arthur worked as a journalist, served in politics as a Member of Parliament, in Government and as Governor General. He was also one of the framers of The Constitution. Hence, he is considered a Founding Father of the nation. Before a packed Balmoral Club with family members including Joan Lady Foulkes, former and serving politicians, Sir Arthur was honored for his dedication to family and country. Tributes were paid by former prime ministers, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham and the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie.  Also present was former Governor General Arthur D. Hanna.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Minnis told Sir Arthur, “You have given your lifeblood and every measure of devotion for our country.  We revere and love you.” According to the Prime Minister, it would take the poetic genius of Caribbean Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, or the brilliance of the West Indian Renaissance man Rex Nettleford, or the artistry of Max Taylor and Brent Malone, or the words and imagination of Sir Arthur Foulkes “to even begin to express the tremendous gratitude of the Bahamian people for the life and the legacy of the national hero, whose ninetieth birthday we joyously celebrate this evening.” The Prime Minister recalled that during the struggle for Majority Rule he was fortunate at a young age to meet Sir Arthur, who was then editor of The Bahamian Times, and one of the leaders of the National Committee for Positive Action, the NCPA. “The newspaper, which Sir Arthur edited, and the NCPA, were pivotal in the struggle.  Both were the brainchild of Sir Arthur and a number of his colleagues,” the Prime Minister said. He said that his uncle Dudley Gilbert, who helped to produce the Bahamian Times often, spoke about the kindness Sir Arthur showed him over the years before and after the Majority Rule government.

“He spoke of Sir Arthur’s decency, his sense of fairness and justice, his compassion and humanity, all of which have graced our nation for nearly a century. Uncle Dudley always reminded me of how Sir Arthur remained faithful to the movement, and to his vision of racial, social and economic equality,” the Prime Minister said.

He recalled that he was about 13-years-old when Majority Rule was ushered in.

“As a young boy I couldn’t fully understand all the things that were being talked about and debated by my elders,” the Prime Minister said. “But over the decades many of us came to understand more fully the ideas and the vision of Sir Arthur and his generation of compatriots.” The Prime Minister said that he entered politics to give back to the country, what The Bahamas so richly afforded him and that Sir Arthur, among others, inspired him to public service. “Sir Arthur: None of us can walk in your shoes. But we can follow in your footsteps on the path you trod and bravely clear for your beloved Bahamas through your blood, sweat, and tears. We have undoubtedly made tremendous progress as a nation.”  But he said had the country remained more faithful to Sir Arthur’s vision, it would have progressed even further in terms of equality and social justice. The Prime Minister noted that the Over-the-Hill transformation plan his administration is leading is, in part, inspired by the social vision of Sir Arthur, who served as the Member of Parliament for Grant’s Town.

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