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Charles Fawkes, one  of the founders of the defunct Vanguard Nationalist Socialist Party, has died. He died at the Princess Margaret Hospital on 4 July 2022 and was 74 years old at the time of his death. The cause was unknown,  He now joins  the late Professor John McCartney in the ages. The two of them with Lionel Carey who is still with us formed the communist party in The Bahamas, following a split with the Unicom student movement after Sir Franklin Wilson decided to join the PLP.  The present  company of Bahamians would not know the name. The 1970s was a time of great nationalism and energy in and around the coming of majority rule and the coming of national independence. Sean McWeeney who headed Unicom wrote this on what’s app about the late Charles Fawkes:

Just a brief note to mark the passing of an old comrade-in-arms, Charles Fawkes. His death notice appears in today’s Obituaries. He was, with Dr John McCartney, Lionel and Wallis Carey and Arthur Hamilton, a founder in 1971 of a truly historic political party, the Vanguard Nationalist & Socialist Party (VNSP), the first, and thus far only, party in The Bahamas to openly espouse Marxism-Leninism as its core-ideology. Sir Franklyn and I will remember the formation of this party very well because it was a breakaway from UNICOMM of which I was President at the time, and Sir Franklyn a prominent and influential member. The split occurred because of Sir Franklyn’s decision to align himself with the PLP with a view to becoming a PLP candidate in the General Election of 1972. Many members, including myself, supported this move to  the PLP while others like Charley and John and Lionel would not countenance it at all. The upshot of all this was the breakaway and then the formation of the VNSP followed not long after by the disintegration of UNICOMM as its members migrated to the PLP or the VNSP or (in far fewer numbers) the NDP (then on its last legs). 

Charlie was a true believer, and a prolific writer as publisher and editor of the Party’s newspaper. He remained a dedicated Socialist (with close ties to the Cuban Revolutionary Party during the Fidel Castro era). Lionel had the same dedication to the cause and, as far as I’m aware, has kept the faith to this day, 50 years on. 

Although the VNSP contested several general elections here, it never gained any popular traction. After John McCartney’s withdrawal from the Party, it lingered on for a while and then died a quiet death. 

And that was that. 

I’m sorry to learn of Charley’s passing. I extend condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace. 


[7/15, 10:46 AM] Sean McWeeney: I think the VNSP’s long-term impact has been negligible. It consistently scored abysmally in the General Elections it contested. I mean really abysmally. In the 1977 Election, for example, it garnered less than 1/10th of 1% of the popular vote and five years later, it still could score no better than 0.25%. The VNSP was always regarded by the electorate as a well-intentioned but quixotic, overly intellectualized group with, frankly, a rather repellent political message. In truth they were purists who were trying to introduce a new type of politics into the culture. They did not get very far at all. Then again it was the novelty (for The Bahamas) of their philosophy that made them an interesting bunch. And for that, they deserve to be remembered. Trailblazers they were even though the trail they blazed did not extend very far. But there was one other thing: they played no small part in introducing Bahamians, especially under-resourced Bahamians, to the opportunities for higher education and professional training (chiefly in medicine) in Cuba, at very little cost, in the 70s and 80s. That should not be discounted in any evaluation of the VNSP’s legacy. Sean