The Progressive Liberal Party announced itself to the world on the 23rd November 2022. This was written by Cyril Stevenson, the first Secretary General of the party and one of the three founders of the party. The other two were Henry Milton Taylor, later Governor General and William Cartwright. Mr. Taylor as he then was, was the Member of the House for Long Island and Ragged Island. Mr. Cartwright was the Member of the House for Cat Island. Mr. Stevenson was one of the first members elected in 1956 under the PLP’s banner. To mark the occasion, the Chairman of the party convened a press conference at the Headquarters of the party in Nassau. He issued the following statement:
Fred Mitchell Notes On the 69th Anniversary of the PLP
In 1983, marking the then 30th anniversary of the party, Cyril Stevenson wrote an essay in which he marked the history of what he had founded. He said that the PLP announced itself to the world on 23 November 1953. That was 11 years after the Burma Road Riots. He said that the founders of the party were himself Henry Taylor and William Cartwright.
Today we mark 69 years of the continued existence of the first and oldest party in The Bahamas, the Progressive Liberal Party. PLP All the way!
Congratulations then to you who have stayed the course. Congratulations to those who gone the last mile of the way. We remember those who have gone to their reward.
Today we remember the three founders. We remember our first Leader Lynden Pindling and the magnificent six Sammy Issacs, Clarence Bain, Milo Butler, Randal Fawkes, Cyril Stevenson who were the first PLPs to be elected to the House of Assembly back in 1956.
Cyril Stevenson said that the success of the party could not have been possible without the work and fundraising of the women of the party. On this day when the parliament paused to commemorate the 60th anniversary of women exercising the vote. We remember all of them too.
Ruby Ann Cooper Darling is being honoured by the party on Saturday 26 November 2022, the actual date of the first vote by women back in 1962.
The PLP has been associated with all of the social changes and progress in the country: universal education, the rights of labour, the rights of women, the rights of young people, the development of the modern state and tourism sector, our national defence and our economy. Those all go down to the PLP’s account.
69 years is a long time but not long enough.
Having accomplished majority rule and national independence, it is now time to tackle the challenge of economic empowerment.
To this end, we pledge anew to do the following:
We must educate our people and teach them in the ways of equity, peace and justice,
We are not hogs at the public trough but servants of the Bahamian people and pledge anew to their service
We must increase the wealth and share the pie and implement a programme of affirmative action
We must uplift the poor, the down trodden, care for the hungry and those cannot take care of themselves.
As you can see, we have miles to go before we sleep.
Today I would like to announce that in pursuance of the goals the PLP will do the following:
Purchase 10,000 dollars in Bahamas Government Bonds in the name of the Progressive Liberal Party as a sign of good faith and support of our government’s management of the public finances and the work of our Minister of Finance
We are encouraging those of you who can to do the same. In a climate where the banks offer no interest on savings and are engaged in behaviour which can only be described as rapacious, Governments are a safe investment. But I add please get your own independent advice on what is good for you.
We will petition the government to formally incorporate by statute the Progressive Liberal Party with the transfer of all assets, income and liability to the new statutory corporation.
Begin the search for suitable land for the building of new offices and a convention centre for the party going froward.
Improve the public health
It has been my privilege and honour to be the Chair of this great party since 2017. I thank you all for your support.
I am pleased to have worked with all our Members of Parliament and Senators, the Leader of the Party Philip Davis and the Deputy Chester Cooper and officers of the party including our Secretary General Barbara Cartwright. It has been a good run.
We plan important markers for next year’s 70th anniversary.
We have miles to go before we sleep.