Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rev. Fr. Sebastian Campbell - Chairman of the National Heroes Committee says: ...parliamentarians are “lazy” in the naming of national heroes in The Bahamas throughout the years

Campbell: Parliament “lazy” in naming nat’l heroes

Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Guardian Staff Reporter

Chairman of the National Heroes Committee Rev. Fr. Sebastian Campbell blasted parliamentarians for being “lazy” in the naming of national heroes in The Bahamas throughout the years.

Campbell spoke at a state-recognized funeral for Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) co-founder William ‘Bill’ Cartwright at St. Gregory’s Anglican Church on Carmichael Road yesterday.

Campbell said he met with the Cabinet last week to discuss the funeral and proposed that Cartwright be referred to as the “honorable William Wilton Jose Cartwright, national hero”.

“Some around the table almost had my head,” he said.  “I was told that only Parliament could give such a designation. I told them under my breath ‘that’s nonsense’.

“On the January 10, 2007, the National Heroes Committee designated William ‘Bill’ Cartwright as honorable for life on behalf of the Bahamian people who are the true sovereign of any country.

“Parliament of The Bahamas has been extremely lazy in this regard. To date only one person, I believe, the late Sir Milo B. Butler, has been declared a national hero by Parliament.

“We wait patiently for people of the stature of ‘Bill’ Cartwright to die then we flirt with the term national hero of the first order. This is our national character on which we seem not to be ashamed.”

Campbell noted that people of “lesser pedigree” than Cartwright overshadow him in accolades.

“Those who sacrificed nothing, gave up nothing, now have roadways and superstructures named in their honor,” Campbell said.

He continued: “And many of today’s players in the political platform know nothing about William ‘Bill’ Cartwright, Cyril Stevenson and [Sir] H.M. Taylor. No wonder tributes paid in recent days to Cartwright lack so much substance.”

The men founded the PLP in 1953.

Cartwright died at 89.

He spent the last two years of his life in an old folks home, before being taken to hospital in the days before his death.

Cartwright, a native of Long Island, represented Cat Island in Parliament for seven of the 20 years he devoted to public life.

PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis said at Cartwright’s memorial on Friday that The Bahamas failed Cartwright.

At the funeral yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie agreed with Campbell that Cartwright deserves special recognition.

Christie said the government would allow The College of The Bahamas to begin immediately to record the history of the country to “fill in the gaps that have been left by those who have offered their own experiences”.

“We have an obligation as a country to do something about this deficit that the Rev Fr. spoke about, and quickly,” Christie said.

“To the family...I have indicated as the leader of the PLP on the one hand that I would move to ensure the upliftment of the names of those who are a part of the original visionaries and [their] name in the annals of our party, so that henceforth we will no longer have to guess, but will be properly lifted and institutionalized.

“So from a party perspective the history will be complete.”

Jun 19, 2012