Maynard-Gibson, A Major Nation-building Contributor

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | [email protected]

There are those who claim very good genes, and factually so.
And, then there are folks with superlative genes.
One such lady who has climbed the steps of an incredible genealogy to become one of the Bahamas’ greatest nation-building matriarchs, is Allyson Maynard-Gibson.  She was recently appointed Chairman of the University of The Bahamas (UB) Board of Trustees, yet another portfolio from which enhancement of a nation and its people will be definite given her all-round pedigree of success.  No doubt, her genes have factored in the consistent efforts over the last four decades or so of excellence which put Maynard-Gibson in a very special category of Bahamian heroes.  When my immediate family of three – my father, mother and I moved a block further east from the Mackey Street North/Okra Hill Community in the summer of 1958, William Street was our destination.  In a famous home on that street lived Dr. Roland Cumberbatch and Meta Davis Cumberbatch, one of the most noted married couples in Bahamian history. I was one of the many youngsters afforded kindness by Dr. Cumberbatch and Mrs. Cumberbatch, not at all cognizant at the time of the historic individuals who touched our lives.  They were the maternal grandparents of Maynard-Gibson.
Seven blocks west of William Street, on Shirley Street, was the homestead of Georgiana Symonette one of the anchor icons of the Women’s Suffrage Movement (which fought for the rights of women to vote).  Ms. Symonette was Maynard-Gibson’s paternal grandmother who brought forth Clement and Andrew “Dud’ Maynard. The former became a pivotal unionist and later deputy prime minister of the country. The latter, for many years, helped shape the progress of  the country under a Progressive Liberal Party Government led by one Lynden Pindling who would later be knighted and accepted as the Father of the Nation when independence was ushered in on his watch.
So, coming from that ancestry, Maynard-Gibson understandably was earmarked for progressiveness – personally and in all that she had jurisdiction over.
She is a no-nonsense diplomat of the highest order. It is a characteristic rarely found. Normally the straight-shooters don’t particularly care about diplomacy. On the other hand, the usual diplomat is concerned mostly about being politically correct.  Maynard-Gibson combines both elements with grace.  Her voice level never changes no matter the heat of the discussion or the significance of the matter at hand, be it legal, political, or otherwise.  She is a barrister supreme, a Queen’s Counsel; a former Member of The House of Assembly and Senate; the country’s one-time Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs; a past Minister of Financial Services and Investments; and now UB Chair, the first woman so elevated.
Accordingly, this lady with the uncommonly prominent genetic background is positioned to continue her fantastic legacy of contributions to this country.
Congratulations Dame Maynard-Gibson!
Not yet? Well, perhaps in the near future.

Pindling Legacy of PLP Leadership Continues through PM Philip Davis

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | [email protected]

The Sir Lynden Pindling Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leadership legacy continues.
The Most Honourable Philip Davis, QC, MP, was not among that initial group of Pindling leadership politicians, each considered to be a protege. No, that list included Kendal Nottage, Darrell Rolle, Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie, primarily. (The latter two succeeded Sir Lynden in the high political seat of Prime Minister in the country).
However, there was a great PLP stalwart known as Edward “Big Brave” Davis, a fierce, fiery fighter in politics. The story goes that Sir Lynden very badly wanted to bestow an appointment of high honor on this giant of the political trenches who hailed from Old Bight, Cat Island. “Whatever you have for me, Mr. Prime Minister, give it to my boy.” Reportedly, that was the essence of that particular conversation between Sir Lynden and Big Brave Davis.

So, it followed that upon the resignation of Erwin Knowles as the representative for Cat Island in late November 1991, it was Philip (Little Brave) Davis who Sir Lynden endorsed to represent the PLP in 1992. The rest is history. Davis lost his Member of Parliament status during the 1997 general elections, but regained it in 2002 and has been that constituency’s political standard bearer ever since. Very early into his term as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Davis is really the one looking most like Sir Lynden. He made a dramatic transformation with House of Assembly presentations and otherwise when bringing remarks at podiums, press conferences, etc.  The collective tag of hesitancy and rambling no longer fitted him. In fact, some two years prior to the 2021 September general elections, Davis started to make smooth deliveries and he became better and better as time went on. The masses of the people started thinking of him as “prime” Prime Minister material.
There was something else about Davis that I noticed, and I’m sure others did as well. The mannerisms of Sir Lynden could be detected at times in Davis.  There was this strong conviction and a high confidence level portrayed by Davis that was surprising.
He is not a Sir Lynden clone.  Nevertheless, much more so than Ingraham (a three-time non-consecutive PM) and Christie (twice the nation’s PM, non-consecutively) Davis resembles the Father of the Nation, Sir Lynden. Davis started out very well in appointing a magnificent Cabinet of The Bahamas. Then, inside his cabinet and outside he strategically placed others, including the most qualitative collection of women in parliament in the nation’s history, in key positions of governance.
The decision to allow the country to breathe by rescinding a lot of the restrictions imposed by a competent authority of the last government was huge. The return to nationwide normalcy began and continues despite the ever-present COVID-19 pandemic. If he can bring about the economic recovery of Grand Bahama and the revitalization of the wider country, he will further appear to be Pindling-like in leadership. How he and his ministers cope with national matters left in shambles by the previous government will determine just how much good he can do for the country, as did Sir Lynden.
At the present, PM Davis is off to a solid start. A nation now waits to see what the mega venture in Dubai produces.

Cooper Presents Different Historical Dynamics for Progressive Liberal Party

By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | [email protected]

For the first time in history there is a deputy leader who is not considered by many to be a true Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) product.   I. Chester Cooper, the Deputy Leader of the PLP and the Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments in Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis’ cabinet, was not even in the PLP mix during most of the last Perry Christie PLP Government (2012-2017).  Somehow, he surfaced as a PLP Candidate for the 2017 general elections after being thought to have initially decided to opt for the Free National Movement (FNM). 
In fact, during a House of Assembly session following his success in Exuma as an Official Opposition representative Cooper was accused on the floor of having changed his mind for the PLP rather than the FNM.  Whatever the case, his personal PLP link is relatively new.  This is where he differs greatly from all others who were deputy leaders of the oldest (established in 1953) formal political party in the country. When Lynden Oscar Pindling who would later be knighted and enshrined as the Father of the Nation came home from successful law studies and joined the PLP in 1953, he met Henry Milton Taylor (later to rise to the status of governor general) as the de facto leader of the PLP.  Taylor was not successful in the 1956 elections and Pindling evolved into the unquestioned leader of the PLP. There are different stories of Pindling’s ascension to the PLP leadership, but what was never in doubt was the absolute loyalty of his deputy Arthur Hanna (who would also later become governor general). Hanna was quite comfortable in his role as deputy leader of the party and deputy prime minister through 25 consecutive years of governance. It has been said far and wide that he never aspired to be party leader or prime minister. No one, not even Pindling or the late great Clarence Bain were thought of as being more PLP than Hanna.  Hanna lost in his election race in 1992 and easily slipped into the background of national politics. Perry Christie and Dr. Bernard Nottage emerged as the top choices to be Hanna’s successor as deputy leader of the PLP. In a one-day convention, Christie overcame Nottage and was officially established in the role Hanna performed so brilliantly for many years. Whatever can be said about Christie and his rise to the prime minister position for two non-consecutive terms, it was never doubted that his political career was rooted in the PLP and remained so. The political transition over time saw Cynthia Moxey-Pratt and Davis emerge as deputy leaders of the PLP, and once again, there was no questioning the distinct PLP background of the two. Now, there is Chester Cooper.  Because his FNM friends Algernon Cargill and Marlon Johnson and, I understand, quite a few others have remained entrenched in high, meaningful positions in this PLP Government; Cooper has drawn many sideways looks from PLPs, especially those who fought hard in the trenches and have received no flowers at all as yet.
This man Cooper does not have the bearing of a PLP.  He seems abstract to PLPism. Oh, he exists as a PLP hierarchy member, but the bet here is that only a small percentage of those who pay close attention to the political arena see him as a true PLP.  Such is the strange situation of historical dynamics he presents. That he has ambitions to be prime minister is not in doubt however.  This is where Davis ought to be careful and watchful; Cooper is 51, and Davis is 70. It seems an easy scenario, the younger man waiting comfortably in the wings for the older to serve two terms as prime minister. I don’t think this to be the case though.  I see Cooper fighting very hard to keep as many of his FNM buddies around, then eventually seeking to get them in the PLP ranks as part of his support base for the future. He is just a different kind of political creature; one never seen before around the PLP leadership table. 

Should Davis be uneasy?

Well, certainly he would be best minded not to go to sleep on Cooper.