Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sir Clifford Darling... the fourth Bahamian Governor-General of an independent Bahamas is a hero of the labour movement and for the rights and dignity of workers in The Islands


Tribune Staff Reporter

Nassau, The Bahamas

HIS EXCELLENCY SIR CLIFFORD DARLING, KT., J.P. - Governor-General of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas - 1992 - 1995SIR Clifford Darling, the fourth Bahamian-born Governor General of the Bahamas, died in hospital yesterday morning.

Sir Clifford, who was described as one of the major builders of the modern Bahamas, died in the Princess Margaret Hospital at 5am Monday after a long illness.

Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes said Sir Clifford's passing is particularly hard on him as he was a good friend.

"Along with all the Bahamian people, my wife and I mourn the death of an outstanding Bahamian leader and nation builder. Sir Clifford's passing is also a personal loss as he was for years a colleague, and for decades, a good friend," he said.

"Sir Clifford was among those extraordinary Bahamian leaders who commanded the Bahamian stage during the history-making years of the fifties and sixties and he played his considerable role with dedication and with his characteristic dignity. Even as we mourn his loss, we also thank God for a life that was well-lived and wonderfully fruitful.

"On behalf of a grateful nation I extend sincere condolences to Lady Darling, Sir Clifford's children and other family members during this their time of bereavement."

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham also sent condolences to the Darling family. He said Sir Clifford's passing brings to a close another remarkable career of an early nation builder and pioneer for equality.

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Clifford Darling this morning. Sir Clifford, the fourth Bahamian Governor-General of an independent Bahamas is a hero of the labour movement and for the rights and dignity of workers," he said.

"His entry into public life was driven by his strong desire to secure equity for fellow disadvantaged taxi-drivers. The success he helped win for taxi drivers set the stage for dramatic political change in our country; a change that began in 1967. Bahamians owe a debt of gratitude to Sir Clifford for his half a century of public service marked by honesty, industry, loyalty and integrity. His proud legacy will not be forgotten. Even as we mourn his passage, we celebrate his life of service and dedication to The Bahamas. May he rest in peace."

Sir Clifford was sworn in at Government House on January 2, 1992, by Chief Justice Joaquim Gonsalves-Sabola, succeeding Sir Henry Taylor, who retired on January 1.

Sir Clifford served as Speaker of the House of Assembly from 1977 until November 13, 1991, when he resigned.

A former Progressive Liberal Party Member of Parliament for Englerston, Sir Clifford was born on February 6, 1922, at Acklins Island to Charles and Aremilia Darling. He attended Acklins Public School and public schools in New Providence.

The former taxicab driver served as general secretary of The Bahamas Taxicab union for eight years and as president for 10.

In the early 1950s, Sir Clifford bargained with hotels for better treatment for taxi drivers. In 1957, Sir Clifford as president, blockaded and closed the airport. A general strike followed in January, 1958. With Sir Clifford's help, an agreement among hotels, tour services and taxicab operators was reached.

Sir Clifford served as a PLP senator from January 1964 to January 1967. He then served as a Englerston MP from January 1967 to October 1969, when he was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of State.

In November 1971, he was named Minister of Labour and National Insurance. He was responsible for the introduction of the National Insurance programme on October 7, 1974. Sir Clifford was elected Speaker of the House in 1977 and knighted by the Queen the same year. He was a Stalwart Councilor, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a member of the Progressive Liberal Party.

Sir Clifford is survived by his second wife, Lady Ingrid Darling, and seven children, Clifford Darling Jr., Andrea Darling-Thompson, Sharlene Hanna, Theresa McPhee, Rushena Darling, Lakreisha Darling and Charles Darling.

December 28, 2011