Condolences on the Passing of Dr. the Hon. Bernard Nottage from Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands
Jul 1, 2017 - 6:08:25 PM
Nassau, Bahamas - Condolences On the Passing of Dr. the Hon. Bernard Nottage Former MP, Bain Town from Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands, MP Minister of Health:
On behalf of the Ministry of Health I join with colleagues and people across this great Commonwealth in extending sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dr. the Honourable Bernard “BJ” Nottage, a former Minister of Health in the Government of The Bahamas. This great Bahamian ended his earthly pilgrimage Wednesday 28th June, 2017. I offer my prayers and support to his wife Portia and his sons, and I know that fellow physicians and the entire medical community are indeed saddened by this loss.
Public service is not the song and dance that it appears to be. It requires discipline and leadership. It requires discernment and a vision for hope. It requires a keen sense of fairness and judgment and the ability to offer service above self.
Dr. Nottage was a skilled Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who answered the call to public service and he was always the consummate public servant who extolled all Ministry of Health staff to come to work, know their work and do their work. He set the highest standard at the Ministry of Health and all other Ministries where he worked. He was a disciplined and competent leader who gave his all and expected all from everyone. He had great discernment and a vision of hope. He made sure everyone was treated with dignity, fairness and support. He gave service above self.
He always spoke proudly of his East Street roots, his family, his father, the policeman who instilled in him and his siblings the values that were needed to change history and change the impact of discrimination he felt.
We all know that he was the consummate scholar who always read and shared his medical knowledge and many of us remember the care he gave to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. He often shared medical articles from everywhere, whether you were in hospital, in the plane, as you traveled to meetings.
The CARICOM community was amazed at his proficiencies in steering the Council for Human and Social Development as he presented the CARICOM speech on behalf of the Ministers of Health from the region at the 59th World Health Assembly in 2006. He then hosted Ministers of Health and Ambassadors to lunch and then escorted them to a meeting with Prince Charles who was the guest speaker at the 59th WHA. The Ministers of Health of the Caribbean Region also mourn his passing and will always be fondly remembered by so many all over the globe.
He was a champion for the common man and for people everywhere. When he returned from his studies, he and the late George Sherman made a difference in the delivery of Maternal and Child care. As the Minister of Health, he pioneered efforts to decrease the infant and maternal mortality rates at Princess Margaret, the Rand Memorial and Doctors Hospitals. Dr. Nottage stimulated efforts to introduce the National Health Insurance scheme.
Dr. Nottage’s contribution to the growth of the medical profession is legendary from the establishment of the Doctors Union. He served in the dual role as President of the Bahamas Medical Association and the Doctors Union. Dr. Nottage was instrumental in advancing and supporting the passage of the Medical Act of 2014.
Despite his successful career in medicine, a strong desire for public service, led Dr. Nottage into public life and politics. With the exception of a brief period when he served as chief executive officer and leader of the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR), most of his career in frontline politics was spent as a member of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in service of the people of the Bain and Grants Town constituencies to whom he felt a fierce allegiance.
He made a stand for national leadership on two occasions both times challenging his lifelong friend the Rt. Hon Perry Gladstone Christie.
But as competitive as he was, he was also loyal, and upon his return to the Progressive Liberal Party, he never veered from his support of the leadership and the party.
Dr. Nottage leaves behind an impressive legacy for his fellow Bahamians to follow. He was a life well lived, and The Bahamas is richer for the many contributions of this native son.
May his soul rest in peace.
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