According to a New York Federal Grand Jury indictment, as early as 1940, a Bahamian Member of Parliament, was involved with Miami, New York and Brooklyn mobsters, to smuggle narcotics, into the United States, through Nassau.
Basil Herbert McKinney, (born on 21 June 1912), and son of Herbert Arnold McKinney, and according to the book The Early Settlers of the Bahamas by Talbot Bethel, was heir to the John S. George hardware business fortune.
By 1935, Basil H. McKinney was already the youngest person sitting in the Bahamas House of Assembly at just 23 years old. He was the representative for Andros and Berry Islands. McKinney was apparently elected before his 21st birthday.
In 1943, McKinney, along with young newcomer Stafford Sands were being touted as the new group of young men rising to greatness in Bahamian public life.
(The Beacon Tuesday 16th March 1943)
Basil McKinney was still the Member of the House of Assembly for Andros and the Berry Islands in 1949, despite having been arrested on Federal charges in the United States for narcotics smuggling in 1944.
Basil McKinney MHA (Member House of Assembly) Indicted 1944
In September 1944, some thirty years before the cocaine smuggling epidemic tore through the Bahamas, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in New York was wrapping up a long sting operation to catch a sophisticated network of drug smugglers.
In the 1940s, drugs were called narcotics, with morphine, opium and heroin being the dope of choice. They were being smuggled into the US through the Bahamas. A New York Grand Jury has just handed down indictments, charging 16 people with narcotics trafficking.
Of the 16 indicted, was a Bahamian Member of the Assembly, Basil Herbert McKinney and a Nassau government employee, Harcourt Bethel, operator of the government’s communication centre.
Basil McKinney, Member of the House of Assembly, was named by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and in the indictment handed down by the New York Grand Jury, as the supplier, the source, of the morphine being smuggled into the US. In fact, McKinney was named as the leading narcotics dealer in the Bahamas.
(Miami Daily News, Wednesday 6th September 1944)
(The Standard Wednesday 31 January 1945)
Basil McKinney, 32 year-old legislator, pleads not guilty in Federal Court, 8th September 1944
Headlines called McKinney a Solon. Solon was an ancient Athenian politician, lawmaker and legislator. It was a fitting description of his day job.
While attending the boat races on Lake Michigan in the United States, Basil McKinney, Member of the House of Assembly and son of a Member of the House of Assembly, learned that he was indicted on narcotics trafficking charges in Federal Court, when police handcuffed him.
McKinney was arrested. He plead innocent and was given $2,500 bail.
(Tampa Bay Times, Saturday 09th September 1944)
Basil H McKinney – Arrested for drunk driving, speeding and leaving the scene of an accident in California, September 1940
(Santa Ana Register Wednesday 04 September 1940)
Basil McKinney 1953
By 1953, McKinney was on the tourism advisory board along with his contemporaries Stafford Sands, Roland Symonette and Trevor Kelly
Competing at the Olympics
In 1952, The Bahamas competed for the first time in the summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.
Only seven men went to compete. They all competed in sailing and all seven were affiliated with the Nassau Yacht Club.
One of those competing for the Bahamas, was Basil McKinney, then 40 years old.
Basil Herbert McKinney died in 1969