Conflict of interest for Bahamian government ministers only became an issue after 1967. After that is, a negro-led party took power. Before that, under the white-minority controlled Bahamian parliament, a whole new island, Kelly Island named after a sitting government minister; Sir Stafford Sands could be private lawyer to the very people he was selling crown land to as a government minister; and Premier Sir Roland Symonette could actively enter shipping contracts which affected government and have his name used as a marketing draw.

Even Canadian, not even Bahamian-born, Sir Harry Oakes, sitting in the House of Assembly and in the Legislature was actively involved in securing government contracts and buying crown land for himself and H. G. Christie. Christie also sat in the House of Assembly.

H. G. Christie, in his time, as a member of the Assembly, secured more title to crown land and sold more crown land to foreign investors than even the Bahamas land registry records.

In fact, in the entire history of the Bahamas Assembly, since it began in the early 1700s, there was never a conflict of interest for any Assemblyman or government minister, until people of Afro-African descent took power in 1967.

No sooner had the dust settled on the elections of 1967, when the spite laden verbiage of conflict of interest was on the lips of the local and international press. The one man the world was talking about, was the first negro Minister of Health, Mr. Milo B. Butler.

The Hon. Milo B. Butler


1967 – Minister of Health, the Hon. Milo Butler in Conflict of Interest Because He Is An Undertaker

It’s really nothing to laugh at, but the truth was, the world was still in shock after Pindling and the PLP won the government in 1967. And if the world was shocked, think about those in the Bahamas. People were so shocked that they tried to find something, anything to hit back with. They found something. Milo Butler buried negroes.

(The Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, February 21, 1967)

1968 – An Article Which Made Negro Bahamians Out To Be Thieves and Lunatics

At the very end of the article which talks about thieving negro peanut boys and lunatic maids, it mentions the Honourable Milo Butler to be a Director in a funeral home.

Just two years before, in 1966, when Royal Bank of Canada made white UBP Minister of Finance and Tourism, Sir Stafford Sands, a director of the bank, no one said a word. But as soon as a negro became a minister of government, allegations of conflict of interest were soon being thrown at the new PLP government.

As a sitting minister of health, Milo Butler being also an undertaker was seen as the biggest conflict of interest to ever hit Bahamian politics.

(Delaware County Daily Times, Wednesday 10 January 1968)
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