Nassau, The Bahamas – Former Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament and House Speaker, Sir Arlington Griffith Butler, K.C.M.G., was remembered Friday (November 24, 2017) as a man who responded to the injustices of his times by entering the political arena to help bring about racial, economic and social equality in The Bahamas.
Sir Arlington was further remembered as a man “who lent his energy to the struggle for Majority Rule.”
At an Official Funeral at Christ Church Cathedral, George Street, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis memorialized Sir Arlington as “part of a generation of men and women who must be remembered in our history for their courage, determination and commitment to freedom and democracy.
“We have lost a Bahamian patriot and politician who loved his country and who gave his Bahamaland his full measure of devotion.”
Official Funeral of Sir Arlington Butler, November 24, 2017 at Christ Church Cathedral. In first pew are Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling and Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis. BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay
Sir Arlington Butler was a former educator, attorney, Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister, House Speaker, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States of America, and Bahamian sporting community luminary. He died at the age of 79. Following the funeral, his remains were interred at Lakeview Memorial Gardens.
Delivering condolences at the Official Funeral, Prime Minister Minnis said Sir Arlington was also a “fierce defender of the authority of the Speaker of the Honourable House of Assembly.” (Sir Arlington served as Speaker of the Honourable House of Assembly from 1972-1977.)
“He revered the House of Assembly which Sir Arthur Foulkes (former Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas) once described as the ‘centrepiece of an independent Parliamentary democracy called the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.’
“Sir Arlington had a deep respect for the institution and its traditions. He had an extraordinary knowledge of Parliamentary procedure and the rights of Parliament, steeped in ancient history,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“He was a fierce defender of the authority and independence of the Speaker,” the Prime Minister added.
Arlington Griffith Butler was a former educator who left the profession to contest a seat in the House of Assembly in 1968. Four years later, he was elected Speaker of the Honourable House of Assembly.
The Bahamian Flag, presented to Sir Arlington’s widow, Lady Hazel Butler, by Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration the Hon. Brent Symonette, at the graveside. BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay
After parting ways with the governing party, Sir Arlington ran unsuccessfully in the General Elections of 1977, 1982 and 1987.
Sir Arlington returned to the House of Assembly following the 1992 General Elections, and was made a senior Member of Cabinet by Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham.
Sir Arlington was subsequently appointed Bahamas Ambassador to the United States of America, and in 1996, received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his public service and many contributions to national development over several decades.
Sir Arlington was also (to date) the longest serving President of The Bahamas Olympic Association.
“His presence, exuberant spirit and fellowship will be missed,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “We honour Sir Arlington Butler for his service and love of country. With grateful hearts, we thank him for his many and diverse contributions to our Commonwealth.”