In terms of understanding modern Bahamian political history, there is no bypassing the beginnings of the Progressive Liberal Party.

In 1956, Henry Milton Taylor, co-founder and Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party, was quite proud of their third annual party magazine. For a fledgling, predominantly negro-membered, political organisation, just existing past the first year, was an achievement itself. When H. M. Taylor gave a copy to colonial authorities, on his trip to London, along with Lynden Pindling MHA, (Member House of Assembly) and Milo Butler MHA, he proudly stamped it with his compliments.

Other than presenting official statements from Taylor and Pindling, which would have been of high interest to Britain, colonial officials were keen to know more about this three year old PLP Party.

What were their political aims and objectives?

What was the collective thinking of its leadership arm?

Struggling to get subscribers across the archipelago to believe in its core mission, and woefully short of friends and resources, Henry Taylor, Cyril Stevenson, Lynden Pindling and others pushed ahead to create recognisable symbols to support the Party’s message of Unity, Security & Freedom.

Most challenging to the PLP was that it was going up against a larger, wealthier and more connected Bay Street political party, the UBP, United Bahamian Party.

Undeterred, the Party continued to agitate for change with the House of Assembly. Its platform expanded. By 1956, it had 32 platform points listed out in their official magazine. A few of the more interesting points were:

5. Enact housing legislation and slum clearance.

6. Strong immigration control.

7. Direct taxation on those who can afford it.

13. Better care of veterans and guarantee of employment.

17. Purchase all excess crops from the out-islands.

22. Extension of the franchise to all over 21 years of age.

27. Establishment of a Court of Appeal.

29. Formation of the Corp. of the City of Nassau.

32. Condemnation of Communism.

Henry Milton Taylor 1956


Lynden O. Pindling 1956


Progressive Liberal Party official crest.


PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL PARTY MAGAZINE 1956

OFFICIAL FLAG, OFFICIAL SALUTATION, OFFICIAL PARTY CREST AND OFFICIAL PARTY SONG

THE PARTY PLATFORM 1956

1. The principal of Government is the government is the servant of people, and not the people the servant of the government.

2. We must foster trade, cultural and political relations with the United Kingdom and at the rest of the Commonwealth.

3. We must go forward hand in hand with the United States of America and co-operate with the rest of the world.

4. Keep prices to a low a level as possible.

5. Enact housing legislation and slum clearance.

6. Strong Immigration control. Foreigners not to be allowed to take work that can be done by Bahamians.

7. Direct Taxation on those who can afford it. Reduction of taxes on the necessities of life for the poor man.

8. A balanced budget, and reserves for emergencies.

9. Good relations between employers and employees. Foster collective bargaining and proper labour legislation. Unionism to be encouraged.

10. More assistance to the aged, blind, infirm and others without visible means of support.

11. Medical clinics in all important centres in the out-islands. Government doctors in all important islands and visiting doctors in the smaller islands.

12. A higher standard of education for all. Fair conditions and salaries for teachers. Free high school education.

13. Better care of veterans, and guarantee of employment.

14. A NEW DEAL for the out-islands.

15. Assistance to farmers to expand their industries.

16. Re-organisation of the out-island produce exchange so that it will benefit the out-islander.

17. Purchase of all surplus crops from the out-islands. No produce to be returned to the out-islands.

18. Expansion of the livestock industry and an assured market for native meats.

19. Subsidation of local industries, especially the out-island peasant industries.

20. A fair and living wage to members of the Civil Service.

21. Anti-discrimination legislation.

22. Extension of the franchise to all over 21 years of age. Universal adult suffrage.

23. Reduction of the life of the House of Assembly.

24. Revision of the seats in the House of Assembly to ensure better representation.

25. The adoption of the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights.

26. The Four Freedoms of Human Liberty. Freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of religion.

27. The establishment of an Appeal Court.

28. The attainment of a Liberal written Constitution, striving ultimately for self-government within the British Commonwealth.

29. The formation of the Corp. of the City of Nassau.

30. Industry and increased production to be encouraged in the out-islands.

31. Improvement of out-island public utilities, public works, communications, transportation, health, education and markets.

32. Condemnation of Communism.

SIX PLP MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY 1956

1956 GENERAL ELECTION RETURNS

THE PARTY SONG

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