To many alive today, in the Bahamas, the first political leader called “Papa” by the Bahamian people was former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. But there was a ‘Papa’ before Ingraham.
Prime Minister Ingraham wasn’t the first “Papa” leader in the Bahamas.
On June 30th., 1942, after the Duke of Windsor, had successfully negotiated with Washington D.C., over the question of wages for Bahamian negro unskilled labourers at the American airstrip construction job called ‘The Project,” negroes in Grant’s Town erupted in cheers of joy.
During his radio broadcast on the 30th June, 1942, the Duke announced what he had achieved for the labourers in Washington. Unskilled labourers, and many others rioted on June 1, 1942 over the wage difference between Bahamians and American labourers.
Bahamians were making 4 shillings a day. The Americans were being paid on the America scale and Bahamians on the local wage scale. When the difference was said to have been talked about by the Americans, Bahamian workers were enraged. They decided to march in protest. The protest somehow turned into a riot. The riot became known as the Burma Road Riot.
The Duke announced that the wages would be increased from 4 shillings a day to 5 shillings a day. In addition to the one shilling a day increase, labourers would also get one hot meal at lunchtime.
The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson
That night, throughout Grant’s Town, there was great rejoicing.
The Duke of Windsor, who negotiated a one shilling a day increase and a hot meal, was now ‘Sweet Papa HRH’ to the people of Grant’s Town.