there is no struggle there is no progress.
There are those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate
agitation. They want crops without
plowing up the ground. They want rain
without thunder and lightning. They want
the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”
have come to mourn the loss of Clement Trevelyan Maynard but also to celebrate his
life and service as one of the founders of our modern, stable, fully
emancipated and democratic Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
served his country for three decades in the highest echelons of our Government
and contributed mightily to our economic, social, political and constitutional
join with all Bahamians in expressing our gratitude for his long and excellent
service to our country in the many ministerial portfolios he held with
distinction over these years, including that of Minister of Tourism and Deputy
in my humble contribution to his memorialization this afternoon, I have chosen
to say a few inadequate words about a friend, a brother and a comrade in the
struggle for the second emancipation of the Bahamian people, the struggle that
culminated in the dramatic and historic events of January 1967.
is why I chose to begin with those wonderful words from Frederick Douglass, the
brilliant American orator and abolitionist.
They were among the words, ideas and example of other enlightened men
and women, freedom lovers and emancipators that inspired Clement Maynard and his
comrades in the Fifties and Sixties.
were words that were acutely relevant to the unfinished struggle for complete
equality for all Bahamians, not just white Bahamians or near-white Bahamians,
but all Bahamians, black and white.
are some things in life that lend themselves well to compromise; indeed, some
things cry out for compromise. But there
are some things that cannot, should not, be compromised.
and women of integrity cannot compromise their right to equality. Equality cannot be measured by a light meter,
nor can it be administered one teaspoonful at a time.
it was an uncompromising struggle for the full equality of all Bahamians
regardless of race, colour, gender or ethnic origin. And it was an uncompromising struggle for the
fundamental and unfettered right of the Bahamian people to choose their own
leaders from among themselves.
needs to be said as bluntly as that because there are always those who will
attempt to misrepresent history, either out of ignorance, which is forgivable,
or to suit some special agenda, which is not so easily tolerated.
struggle was to fling wide open the doors that were then either tightly shut or
barely ajar for a chosen few to pass through.
struggle that Sir Clement and his comrades joined was against an economic
system to which black Bahamians had only limited access, and then only by the
sufferance of the entrenched powers of the day.
was a system in which the law provided that Bahamian children were entitled to
be educated in public schools only up to the age of 14. And only a few were able to go beyond that. That is if they could afford to go to a
private school and if the colour of their skin was not so dark as to deny them
if they were fortunate enough to qualify for the Government High School, an
institution that had been grudgingly created in 1925 as the first secondary
school open to black Bahamians. Fewer
yet could dare to dream about tertiary education in the great institutions of Europe
or North America.
colonial approach to the education of blacks in The Bahamas had for generations
constituted a grave injustice as described by Bahamian historian Gail Saunders:
general, Bahamian education was designed to provide minimal literacy and sound
moral training rather than social mobility or even useful skills.”
other words, black Bahamians were expected to be good, to be obedient and,
above all, to stay in their place.
policy was underlined by overt discrimination against black Bahamians in public
places including restaurants, theatres and hotels. That odious practice crumbled in the face of
a dramatic assault by Sir Etienne Dupuch in 1956.
if a reasonably bright future was to be attained through education, then the
vast majority of Bahamians could only look forward to rather bleak prospects.
look back now so we might understand the nature of the grand enterprise to
which Sir Clement Maynard and his comrades had committed themselves.
look back so that we might understand what motivated this great Bahamian
throughout his long years of public service.
we look back not in anger over past injustices but in a spirit of joy and pride
and thanksgiving that Sir Clement and his comrades were in the end victorious.
was a difficult and demanding enterprise because, as Frederick Douglass had
warned, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Clement was among those who boldly demanded equality and he was in the trenches
with those who fought for the rights of the Bahamian people. He was not afraid to struggle, to plow, to
agitate, to endure the thunder and lightning, and the awful roar of the ocean.
struggle was against an unyielding and entrenched oligarchy, against a mighty
colonial power, against an electoral system that had only a nodding
acquaintance with the principles of democracy, and, alas, against the residual
psychological effects of a dehumanizing slavery.
scarring effects of generations of pernicious brainwashing and distorted
history had to be confronted. The
greater challenge was, as Sir Lynden Pindling once put it, not the shackles on
our feet, but the shackles our minds.
the face of such odds Sir Clement and his comrades had to make many sacrifices,
endure years of disappointment, and spend countless days and nights of arduous toil.
the same time they had to prepare themselves for the day when some of them would
be called upon to represent their people.
They educated themselves and read everything remotely related to their
quest.And they read some things they
were not supposed to read.
those days Lady Maynard was a very successful travel professional with British
Overseas Airways Corporation so Sir Clement had more opportunities to travel
than the rest of us. And whenever he did
he took our shopping list of books that could not be found in The Bahamas but
were readily available in the bookstores of London.
had obviously been decided that it would be too dangerous to allow the natives
to read certain books -- the same position taken with regard to Sidney
No Way Out.
these were books written by brilliant West Indian intellectuals and
revolutionaries who were shaking the foundations of the imperial powers; among
them were C. L. R. James, Frantz Fanon and George Padmore.
believe that Lady Maynard may be a relative of George Padmore, who became an
adviser of President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and chief architect of his Pan African Movement.
struggle was, and again I borrow from Frederick Douglass, “exciting, agitating,
all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to
silence. It must do this or it does
Trevelyan Maynard was never one to do nothing.
He was a freedom fighter and a passionate crusader for the political,
social and economic emancipation of the Bahamian people.
with me a few more moments and forgive me for the personal references I am
about to make.
that most noble of professions, can sometimes, unfortunately, descend into
something approaching savagery. And it
seems that there is no greater fury in the political arena as when colleagues
turn on each other.
it was when some of us who had been in the trenches together in the struggle
for the second emancipation decided that we could better serve our country in a
different political organization.
was then that Sir Clement and I found ourselves on opposite sides of the
political divide. But although we were
no longer political colleagues, we remained good friends throughout the years.
believe Sir Clement was as pleased as I am to see his daughter, Allyson, and my
son, Dion, face each other across the table in the Senate, but still carrying
on our families’ tradition of friendship.
Clement did not give in to the temptation to punish and ostracize his former comrades
for exercising the democratic rights for which he and they had fought so hard
and sacrificed so much.
on more than one occasion he demonstrated his concern for the welfare and
professional advancement of members of my family.
Clement was also capable of a gesture that is seldom seen in our political
arena. I remember when he invited me to
attend an event in connection with the development of Bahamasair. Having regard to the political climate in
those days, just extending that invitation was notable enough.
Sir Clement stunned the mostly civil service and partisan crowd in the room
when he announced that he was following on with the dream that his friend
Arthur Foulkes had earlier pursued about the development of a national
airline.Such political generosity is
as the curtain draws across the stage of our living memory and as those of us
who were privileged to take part in the great drama disappear from the scene, one
by one, we must leave the rest to history and, we hope, as a goodly inheritance
for future generations of Bahamians.
Maynard, I believe you know the depth of our sincerity when I tell you that
Joan and I, and every member of my family, share in your loss and extend to you
and all your family our heartfelt condolences.
friend Clement Trevelyan Maynard was a freedom fighter, an accomplished
parliamentarian, a nation builder and a great human being.