By Fred Sturrup | GB News Editor | [email protected]
Sir Jack Hayward died on January 13, in 2015. He was 91, and the last remaining member of the first big three, who history considers the prime investors/architects of Freeport and the wider Grand Bahama. It was not a planned union between the Haywards (Charles the father, and son Jack), and founding investor Wallace Groves. The American, Groves, who orchestrated the Hawksbill Creek Agreement with the then Bahamian Legislature back in 1955, was in deep financial trouble when the Haywards came on the scene, afterwards.
A whole lot of infrastructure had been put in place in the free port area and surrounding communities, including the east-most sector which was cut off by water from the far eastern settlements of Grand Bahama; and the Southern Shores and West Grand Bahama. Groves accomplished a lot, with other American investors. They turned marsh, mangrove-populated land into an advanced habitable environment.
Sir Jack, when I interviewed him several years before he died, once in his office at the Grand Bahama Port Authority, and on another occasion, over dinner at his home in Fortune Cay, informed, that one by one, Groves lost his early fellow investors. He was in dire financial shape when the Haywards came into the picture, Sir Jack told me.
Sir Charles liked what Groves had done with previous partners and opted to hitch his financial horse to Groves’ investment wagon. The rest is history, to be told in this ongoing GB News series. Sir Charles concentrated on the investment side, as a much-welcomed compliment to Groves, and the great transformation to what was later to be called the Magic City, began.
In the meantime, son Sir Jack became very much the leading socialite in the embryonic free port trade zone (later to be called formally Freeport). His interaction every evening with other more-social minded associates, led to another necessary aspect of a growing society. The social sector is an important element where, and whenever humans come together. Out of that came, eventually more sophisticated hangouts such as lounges and eating spots, and in particular, a social/news voice, called the Freeport News.
Sir Jack was indeed one of the founders of an institution, which was in the very fabric of Grand Bahama for 61 years, before official closure of the Freeport News on October 31, 2021. Although notably synonymous with the early Freeport and the evolving Grand Bahama Port Authority, Sir Jack was also considered the pioneer socialite.
(The series continues in GB News. Watch for follow-up articles).