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
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.
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
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
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.
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:
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)
“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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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.