British troops were deployed, across areas of Bay Street, from the very first evening of the riot, The riot has come to be known in popular Bahamian political history, as the Burma Road Riot.

One week later on June 8, 1942, it is apparent that some wanted the curfew to be over, as it was disrupting a few things. The Guardian newspaper notes that the curfew was making it impossible for domestic servants (maids and housekeepers) to serve dinner to their bosses, and be home by 8:00 pm.

It seems the problem of having to eat an early dinner was particularly taxing on some.


The institution of a strict curfew was obviously essential if the peace and order so suddenly and violently broken last Monday morning were to be restored.

With the exception of a very small minority the curfew has been strictly and willingly observed.

It has been in force for a week and we think we are safe in saying that there were few who were not relieved that this measure was taken and if it continues to be a necessary factor in the maintenance of law and order we shall have to bear it patiently.

However, we shall hope to hear shortly that it is being lifted in quiet sections. In any case it would prove very great convenience if the curfew were now put on to 9 o’clock.

It is a single matter to make arrangements for a few days, but for business people and in relation to domestic servants a prolonged disruption on ordinary life becomes more difficult as the days go on.

Employees who must be home by 8 o’clock cannot serve dinner; the alternative of dining out is impossible. Men who work all day—– strangers who have no home to be comfortable in—- cannot seek any form of relaxation.

Far be it from us to desire that wise precautions be discarded; what we hope is that some compromise may be affected in the very near future which may prove acceptable to the authorities and public alike.

(The Nassau Guardian, Monday June 8, 1942)

Acting Governor W. L. Heape, while waiting

(William Leslie Heape)

for the Duke of Windsor to return, from America, on June 2, instituted an island wide curfew. Other than the soldiers, police, and those citizens deputised to be on volunteer patrol duty, every resident was expected to stay indoors. This applied to everyone, both white and black. Not everyone heeded the strict directive.

In order to be out after curfew, you would have had to obtained a pass. To get a pass, you had to show, good cause, why you needed one.

But not everyone obeyed the island wide directive to stay off the streets from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

One Shot Dead. 35 Arrested. And One Man Was So Scared of Getting Caught Breaking Curfew and Possibly Shot, He Jumped in the Water and Swam to Hog Island

On Friday June 5, 1942, the Guardian newspaper reported that some 35 persons had been arrested for being out after curfew without a pass and one man, a negro, was shot dead by British troops, when he resisted arrest.

Names of those arrested and convicted in the Magistrate’s court were printed on the following page of the Guardian. Among them were some very important men, from important families, in the Bahamas. Irvin Kelly, Stanley Lowe, George Gibson, and a sitting member of the House of Assembly, Roland T. Symonette. R. T. Symonette would, decades later, go on to become the first Premier of the Bahamas.

(The Nassau Guardian, Friday June 5, 1942)

More Arrests and Curfew Breaker Swims to Hog Island Rather Than Risk Getting Shot

(The Nassau Guardian, Monday June 8, 1942)


In June 1942, the Bahamas was in the middle of a general election. Roland T. Symonette was seeking re-election running in the Eastern District. Of all the qualifying factors to run for office, the most important was that you had no criminal convictions. Not even a parking ticket was allowed and certainly not a conviction and five for breaking a lawfully imposed curfew.

(The Nassau Guardian, Friday June 12, 1942)

Guardian Prints Retraction

On Friday June 5, 1942, the Guardian newspaper had printed that R. T. Symonette, Stanley Lowe, Irvin Kelly and George Gibson, influential and leading businessmen in the Bahamas, were convicted and fined for breaking curfew. By Monday June 8, 1942, that was changed. A conviction and fine, even for breaking curfew regulations, would have ended Symonette’s political career. It would have been interesting though to be a fly on the wall in 1942, in the Magistrate’s Court in Nassau, when these high profile men were hauled before the law bench for being outdoors past 8:00 pm.

(The Nassau Guardian, Monday June 8, 1942)