Cyril St. John Stevenson, a dynamic figure during incredible times. Stevenson was born just a decade after the turn of the 20th century, on July 13, 1914. He was a Bahamian politician and prominent newspaper publisher. The early 20th century in the Bahamas, was a time of significant wealth and social disparities, which ran across long standing racial lines. Stevenson became determined to challenge what seemed like an almost unbreakable political status quo. But he could not do it alone. What he and others had conceived, would come to change the social and political landscape, of the tiny island colony, in ways they could not have imagined.

 

It would be Stevenson, along with Sir Henry Milton Taylor and William Cartwright, who co-founded the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in 1953, the first national political party to be established in the Bahamas. Twenty years later, in 1973, it would be the PLP Party, which would propel the colony towards independent nation status.

 

In 1954, the year following the establishment of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Stevenson became the editor and publisher of the The Nassau Herald. He took a strong, commanding, no holds barred approach as editor. He held no reservations in denouncing, in very strong terms, the political practices of the United Bahamian Party (UBP) who held the government at that time. As the early PLP saw it, the UBP were solely representing the interests of a wealth monopoly controlled by Bay Street merchants, the “Bay Street Boys”. Stevenson was vociferous in his condemnation of political practices that seemingly kept the negro disenfranchised in the Bahamas.

 

By 1956, Stevenson, with a view to helping to steer political change at forefront, decided to run for public office. He was elected to the Bahamas House of Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, from the Andros and the Berry Islands constituency in 1956.

 

He joined the “Magnificent Six,” a group of six MPs who formed the first opposition block in the Bahamas parliament. The group of six PLP parliamentary members consisted of Stevenson, Randol Fawkes, Lynden Pindling, Milo Butler, Sammy Isaacs, and Clarence Bain.

 

Stevenson, again representing parts of the Andros and the Berry Islands constituency, was re-elected to the Assembly in the 1962 election.

 

He lost his re-election in 1967, when he was as an independent candidate and left the PLP.

 

He retired from politics after his 1967 electoral defeat.

 

Stevenson died 6th November 2006.

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