1967 wasn’t about economics; but by 1970 it was. The general elections of January 1967 was a fight over love and loyalty, leaving the people caught in the middle. ‘Pop’ Symonette had become a father figure to the country. He was a daddy and granddaddy figure to tens of thousands. Then, young Lynden Pindling came up. Pindling was vying for a type of love and adoration, that had people crying just to touch your hand. A unique kind of love which had an entire country praying for you day and night. Pindling wanted what Symonette had enjoyed for so long; the love of a nation. As for the Bahamian people, torn between emotion and history, the vote, in 1967, was split right down the middle.
They say Sir Roland Symonette didn’t put on airs. Symonette was an island boy. Son of the Bahamian soil, he was loved by the people of his generation, who knew him affectionately as ‘Pop’. Though Sir Roland may have acquired many silver spoons later in life, he wasn’t born with one.
Sir Roland was quietly confident that when his party, the United Bahamian Party, was voted out of office, in January 1967, then buried politically in 1968, they left The Bahamas on a superior economic footing. All the same, economics was the last thing on people’s minds in 1967. They were choosing who they loved more.
By 1970, the machinery of minor PLP government dissenters and the political opposition, made up of disgruntled former PLPs and the residue of the UBP Party, were plotting to oust Lynden Pindling. Their weapon of choice was to be a vote of no confidence. Pindling went to the House of Assembly on the day; he sat in the chair once occupied by Sir Roland, and stared blankly out the window as the MPs voted for or against his leadership. It was said, the Father of the Modern Bahamas, only showed surprise but once or twice, as solemn votes were cast one by one.
The motion of ‘no confidence’ was introduced into the House by Randol Fawkes. He said he based his action on the recent resignation of two of Pindling’s ministers. Pindling survived 19 – 15 against a motion of no confidence.
As Pindling was fighting for his political life, ‘Pop’ Symonette was busy opening future doors of opportunity. Affable, and unassuming ‘Pop’ was frying conch fritters, at a cocktail party, given by the who’s who and movers and shakers, in his honour on Eleuthera. Pop’s sons, Brent and Craig, dived for lobsters which were served, no doubt, with a lemon butter sauce.
EFFORTS TO MAKE IT ABOUT ECONOMICS 1965 and 1970
What was the economic legacy, left by the United Bahamian Party? Precious little has been written about it. All that has been expounded upon and written about politically, prior to 1967, was underscored with the emotionally charged issue of race. There are volumes chronicling this time of bitter racial division, pitting black against white, picking constantly at the puss filled scabs of Bahamian history. Scant attention has been given to the question of assessing the fiscal management skills of the United Bahamian Party.
What was their political ideology and equally important, how well did they manage the people’s money?
Editor says in 1965 No Poverty in The Bahamas
Editor Refutes International Press Story Saying The Bahamas Has One of the Most Stable Governments and No Gangsterism
UBP Government Spending on schools, geriatric ward, sports centre at Oaksfield
Editor says in 1965 Bay Street Boys are no more but a mere legend, as it was now nigh on impossible to say who is black and who is white
United Bahamian Party Boasts 75% Negro Fully Paid Membership
Editor says Progressive Liberal Party Stands No Chance of Winning in 1967
Editor says casino in Freeport was nothing to worry about. Casino has not lived up to its promise yet!
The UBP was voted out of office in 1967, but by 1970, in an effort to defeat Pindling and the PLP, stories surfaced about a government treasury surplus of $10 million left by the UBP.
While the statement regarding the introduction of salaries for Members of Parliament is factually correct, it omits open and widespread corruption, bribery and patronage paid to MPs acting as lawyers and consultants for the very foreign investors seeking contracts in The Bahamas. Stafford Sands fled the country for Europe with a $50 million fortune.
Every effort was being made to make Pindling and the PLP appear unable to handle the economic job of running the country – 1970
THE UNITED BAHAMIAN PARTY OF 1963
Sir Roland Symonette Appoints 14 Ministers for Bahamas Cabinet
By 1963, despite increasing success with tourism, the lack of Out Island development and modernisation of public facilities were major problems. Same held true for Nassau. Many areas, especially in the inner city, lacked adequate water and sewerage infrastructure, as well as, electricity and telephone facilities.
In 1963, the population of The Bahamas was just over 127,000. Under the policies of the Bahamas Development Board, headed by Sir Stafford Sands, Minister of Finance, the colony welcomed a record 500,000 tourists.
Among the new Ministerial appointments was Donald E. d’Albenas. D’Albenas, a naturalised Bahamian, was born in Canada. He was named Minister for the Out Islands. John Bethell, Public Works; Trevor Kelly, Ports and Marine; Roy M. Solomon, Telecommunications and Posts; Godfrey Kelly, Education; Peter D. Graham, Labour and Housing; Foster Clarke, Health; George Baker, Agriculture; Frank Christie, Aviation. Three ministers without portfolio were: G. A. D. Johnstone, Joseph Albert and Eugene Dupuch. The 14th minister was yet to be announced and he would be the majority party’s spokesman in the new 15-man Senate.