By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | [email protected]
Loretta Butler, daughter of noted mortician Raleigh Butler and grand-daughter of the legendary politician and humanitarian Sir Milo Butler, not too long ago seemed destined for an extremely high position in the country called The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Indeed, she was well on the pathway to become the first female Prime Minister of The Bahamas.
I know quite a bit about her. During the years 2015 and 2016, we interacted often regarding politics. Prior to that she was a beloved inspiration to my mother and the other women of the Montagu Constituency. Even after she no longer represented them in the House of Assembly, she continued to reach out to them on special occasions. My mother was a staunch supporter of the Progressive Liberal Party; but she told me often and fervently, “I like Milo Butler’s grand-daughter”. So yes, I know a good bit about the lady.
We grew up in the same Pond Area of the middle-east section of New Providence. She would have been one of the little members of the Butler clan one would see at the once famous, land-mark store in The Pond when purchasing items. However, she really came to my attention while in her early teens.
The late Olympic sprinter and National sprint champion Kevin Johnson and I were sitting on the roadside wall in front of his home one day in 1972. Two young ladies in their early teens passed by and greeted us, very mannerly, and I asked the obvious question to my friend Kevin. He informed that the slightly taller one was “Raleigh’s daughter and the other one, Milo’s”. The taller of the cousins was Loretta.
The age of high technology was in the far distance then, but news traveled very well in neighborhoods. So I was able to follow her career when she recorded one of her notable “firsts” and became the pioneer female in this country with a degree in Mortuary Science. The next I heard of this lady, Loretta, who would hit ceilings in politics later on; she had relocated to Grand Bahama to operate the family mortuary business in Freeport.
Quite a transformation was to take place. She became recognized as one of the top morticians in Grand Bahama and was cutting a wide path in the business. Her destiny then took a firm grip on her and politics for a number of reasons (another story, at another time), won out over the business.
Instead of in the PLP political family, however, she was to evolve as one of the more spirited, progressive, and capable members of the Free National Movement (FNM) of all time.
(Be on the lookout for the continuation of this series on one of the truly fine daughters of the Bahamian soil. It will be uploaded on GB News soon)