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Bahamas Prime Minister and Officials Pay Tribute to the Late Sir Clement Maynard
Oct 14, 2009 - 5:49:25 PM

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Lady Zoe Maynard wife of Sir Clement T Maynard, former Deputy Prime Minister, views his body as it lies in state in the House of Assembly, October 13. (BIS photo/Patrick Hanna)

Remarks by

Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham


Passing of Sir Clement Maynard

House of Assembly

Wednesday 14th October, 2009

Mr. Speaker,

I join my voice with all who have spoken or written expressing sadness at the passing of Sir Clement Maynard. Sir Clement served in parliament for the better part of the 30 years between 1967 and 1997; first in the Senate and then in this place where he was returned by his constituency on six consecutive occasions – Gambier twice and Yellow Elder four times.

Sir Clements’ longevity in front line politics tells a strong story on the importance of loyalty and faithfulness for he was loyal to his party and to his leader until the end.

He was always of the view that timing was important in politics – more important that immediacy.

He was appointed Government Leader in the Senate on January 16, 1967, and was elected to the House of Assembly in the general election on 10th April, 1968. He would have taken considerable satisfaction, no doubt, from the fact that he had outlived in Government those who ran and won in 1967, an election in which he chose not to run.

He holds the distinction of having been the only original Minister in the PLP 1967 cabinet who remained in the cabinet for 25 years (1967 to 1992). He also served as Leader of Government Business in the House and as Deputy Leader of his party and Deputy Prime Minister for almost seven years.

In recognition of the longevity of his service in Cabinet, my Government offered that a State Funeral be held to mark his passing. The Family accepted the Government’s offer and hence, a State Funeral will be held at 2 PM this afternoon at Christ Church Cathedral.

In acknowledgment of his service, Her Majesty the Queen bestowed upon him the award of Knight Bachelor in 1989. The citation for the award read as follows:

“Over 40 years of outstanding and devoted service to the people of The Bahamas, firstly as a Civil Servant, then as a Senator, Member of Parliament, Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. While a Member of the Public Service Minister Maynard moved up to the post of Chief Medical Technologist at the Princess Margaret Hospital. He was a founding member of the Bahamas Civil Service Union (now Bahamas Public Service Union) and became its first President in 1959 serving until 1967 when he entered the Senate. He served as Minister of Works, Health, Tourism, Labour and Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Public Personnel.”

It could not have been an easy task, serving for so many years at a level where one is bound to take the brunt of many slings and arrows, from friend and foe alike. Sir Clement stayed the course and, as many of us on the other side of the political divide can testify, gave as well as he received.

Sir Clement Maynard did not emerge by accident. He was nurtured from childhood by a mother who herself was committed to the enhancement of economic, social and political rights for all Bahamians as evidenced in her role as a suffragette.

The Governor-General, His Excellency Arthur D Hanna, views the body of Sir Clement Maynard, former Deputy Prime Minister, as it lies in state of the House of Assembly, October 13. (BIS photo/Patrick Hanna)

Sir Clement is perhaps best remembered as a legendary Minister of Tourism, a portfolio for which he held responsibility on two occasions for a total of 16 years. There are numerous top, award-winning advertising, public relations, promotional, training and tourism awareness campaigns, for which he must be credited. They include:

· “It’s Better in The Bahamas” – undoubtedly one of the most widely-recognized advertising slogan in the world

· The Bahama Host Training Program – which has trained 33,700 persons

· The People-to-People Programme

· Goombay Summer which was the longest running and most successful promotional/folkloric campaign that transformed The Bahamas into a year-round tourism destination

· National Tourism Achievement Awards

I first met Sir Clement in 1967 when I was not yet 21. I had gone to listen to the debate in the Senate on a measure passed by the House on a motion moved by the late Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield, to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. At the adjournment I introduced myself to him expressing my admiration for the manner in which he conducted the debate and expressing my support for the measure which was defeated when the Senate voted 8 to 7 that “this Bill be read this day six months” effectively killing the measure. As a consequence, the voting age was not reduced until 1969 after constitutional amendment.

I next had a conversation with him in 1972 after Prime Minister Pindling advised me at the polling station in Simms, Long Island at the re-run of the North Long Island election, that Mr. Maynard wanted to see me about an appointment to the Airport Licensing Authority. I went to see Mr. Maynard and while he said that he did not recall expressing such intent he was very gracious to me.

I have to assume that his memory was ‘jogged’ by our then leader because a short while later I was appointed to the Board.

My next encounter with Mr. Maynard came in 1976 when he and the chairman of his Branch visited me at my home on Christmas Day. I was Chairman of the present minority Party then. He wished to report that a donation for a community project in his constituency had been misdirected. I suggested that he speak with the Leader but he told me that he believed that the matter was more properly left with the Chairman. Clement Maynard was a stickler for protocol. He conducted himself with a dignity at all times.

Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette views the body of Sir Clement Maynard, former Deputy Prime Minister, as it lies in state at the House of Assembly, October 13. (BIS photo/Patrick Hanna)

I reported to the Leader that I had learned that Mr. Maynard’s solicited funding for a constituency project had been misdirected to another. To the best of my knowledge the matter was resolved.

Sir Clement was a pioneer in pursuing constituency development long before it became fashionable. While most MPs waited for the central government to plan such works, Sir Clement was pursuing funding from outside government to develop a community centre in his constituency. Regardless of the heights he achieved, he always remained very grounded in his constituency and in meeting the needs of his constituents.

I am always conscious that it was during his stint as Minister with responsibility for aviation that the new airport at Treasure Cay was built, an important development for my constituency in North Abaco.

Sir Clement’s contacts with the moneyed class were especially important to his party. As he was able to secure funding from wealthy investors and winter residents for his constituency development projects, and to convince many to come to the assistance of Bahamian causes and support his Party.

His contacts helped identify funding for the creation of the Pompey Museum at Vendue House, for example.

And, those contacts proved particularly important during the 1980s when he was able to find sympathetic ears in high places in the US administration and in corporate America after the Brian Ross stories on US national television lead to the 1983 Commission of Enquiry.

I spent two weeks with Sir Clement and Lady Maynard in Zambia when he led the Bahamas delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The meeting permitted us to spend quite a bit of time together and I got to know both he and Lady Maynard.

When I ran for the chairmanship of the now minority party Sir Clement was not amongst my earliest backers but I must say that he eventually became an ardent supporter and friend. He was most helpful to me as an MP, giving generously of his time and advice. I had the opportunity to serve in his Party’s Parliamentary Caucus for 8 years and with him in Cabinet as a Minister for two years.

By the time I got to Cabinet he had been a Minister for 15 years. He was most helpful to me, explaining the ‘ins and outs’ of the process; linking new developments with past events. For this I will always remain grateful.

It is ironic then that the gathering of Cabinet Ministers where the consensus to fire me and the present Leader of the Opposition from the Cabinet was reportedly reached at his home. Political decisions and differences notwithstanding, my personal relationship with Sir Clement endured the changing seasons of time.

I am among the privileged few who annually benefitted from his generosity in sharing the fruit of his labour -- mangoes. Often enough both he and Lady Maynard would deliver a box to my home; this year Allyson brought them.

I have always admired and respected Sir Clement. As a political leader he knew when it was time to go; he did not seek re-election in 1997 but instead retired undefeated.

I know that he was ecstatic to see his daughter Allyson elected to Parliament and become a Minister when his Party returned to office. And later, when his Party was no longer in office, he took great satisfaction in seeing his nephew, Charles, an MP and a Minister.

It certainly would not have escaped Sir Clement that his family had achieved what is likely to be in these times a singular place in the history of our Parliament, that is, over a 42 year period excepting for a single 5 year period (1997-2002), a Maynard was a Member of Parliament. And, except for a 10 year period (1992-2002), a Maynard has served as a Minister in Cabinet – for 32 of the last 42 years!

Sir Clement’s health has been in decline for a number of years. I recall visiting with him in hospital in Miami while I was out of office and since my return to office visiting him at his home in Adelaide.

He died as he lived, a distinguished gentleman, a great Bahamian patriot and nation-builder. He has made a valuable and enduring contribution to The Bahamas and he will long be remembered in this place and in the annals of our history. Those of us who have had the privilege to work and serve with him are the better for it.

I extend deepest sympathy to Zoë, Lady Maynard and to her children and the extended Maynard family. Lady Maynard during 63 years of marriage generously agreed for her husband to dedicate so much of his time in the service of our country. On behalf of a grateful nation I express thanks and appreciation.

May he rest in peace.

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