Tributes To BJ Nottage

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Senator Fred Mitchell

28 June 2017

I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my friend, comrade and colleague Dr Bernard Nottage. He and I served in the Parliament, the Cabinet, in the party. We were at one time co-dissenters. We travelled the road of public life in all its phases.

Each year with our mutual friend Dr Franklin Walkine we gathered at Christmas Day for breakfast with our friends. The gathering in the last few years was only three. We toasted last year not knowing but also realizing that one or other or all might not return this year. It is now only two.

My former constituents I know are grateful for his work in completing the Fox Hill Community Centre as part of the Citizen Security Initiative. He ensured that the job was done.

He was the consummate perfectionist. He was a patriot. He loved The Bahamas. He loved the people of Bain and Grants Town and Kennedy where he served as MP.

He loved the young people of the country. He was committed to their development whether through sports, medicine or public policy. He was committed to his party and the security of the nation.

I am grateful to have known him. I am happy to have worked with him.

To his wife Portia, son Brian, his daughter Sasha, his siblings and all the family. May there be a happy reunion up there with his beloved mother and his late father.

Rest in peace dear friend. Farewell.


Branville McCartney:
29 June
Although we worked on different sides of the political spectrum, I can appreciate his efforts to improve the lives of Bahamians and move the country forward.
I offer condolences to his wife, children and extended family on behalf of my family, the officers and members of The Democratic National Alliance and the general Bahamian public.
May his soul Rest In Peace and Rise in Glory.

Senator Michael Darville:
29 June
I am deeply saddened by the passing of a giant of a man, Dr. BJ Nottage, who was more than a former parliamentarian and cabinet minister. He was a physician, by profession, one of the best, I would dare say, in the country but most of all he was a true friend. Dr. Nottage’s contributions to public life are noteworthy and I am certain that I can safely say, the residents of Bains and Grants Town, whom BJ represented for numerous years, and by extension, the entire Bahamas, mourn with his family at this time. On behalf of my family and I, I would like to extend condolences to the family of the late Dr. Nottage, who should take comfort in knowing that he has fought the good fight, he has finished the race and has kept the faith. “Goodbyes are not forever, they are not the end; it simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again”. Rest in Peace, Doc.

Rt. Hon. Perry Christie:
28 June
t was with profound sadness that I received the news that my political colleague and very dear friend of more than 60 years, Dr. Bernard J. Nottage, passed away this evening.
Dr. Nottage was a man of great accomplishment in the spheres of politics, medicine, and athletics. He served as a Cabinet minister in three separate PLP
governments: first, under Sir Lynden Pindling, as Minister of Consumer Affairs & Utilities, and later as Minister of Education; then in my first Cabinet as Minister of Health, and in my second Cabinet, as Minister of National Security and Government Leader in the House of Assembly. For most of this parliamentary career, Dr. Nottage was the Member of Parliament for the Bain Town area of New
In each of his ministerial assignments, Dr. Nottage won high praise for his competence, unswerving dedication to public duty and for his absolute incorruptibility. It is particularly noteworthy in this latter regard that throughout his lengthy years in politics, there was never so much as a whisper of ethical impropriety uttered against him. He was a public servant extraordinaire and a patriot of the highest order who, to the end of his days, gave the very best of himself to the service of the Bahamian people.
Dr. Nottage entered frontline politics after a distinguished and successful career as a medical practitioner, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. He was widely sought after for his expert skills as a surgeon and for his uncompromising dedication to his patients. A perfectionist in the practice of his profession, he was held in great esteem as one of the leading role models and mentors for doctors in our country. Of particular note, he served at various times as both President of the Bahamas Medical Association and President of the Doctors’ Union.
Dr. Nottage was also a gifted athlete and sportsman. He was an outstanding sprinter in his youth and represented The Bahamas in a number of important international sports competitions, including the 1962 Central and Pan American
Games and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He was also for many years the President of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association and a tireless proponent of regional and international athletic competition for our young athletes.
Speaking personally, BJ and I were friends from a very early age. While attending university in the UK, we developed our political interests in tandem with each other. Indeed in 1966 while studying abroad, we co-founded UNICOLL, a political action group and think-tank which was the first organization to mount a sustained campaign calling for Bahamian decolonization and Independence.
I extend my deepest condolences to BJ’s wife, Portia, his son, Brian, and their entire family, including Dr. Nottage’s siblings, Kendal, Sandra and Philip. This is a great loss for them and for our entire nation.May the soul of this great Bahamian rest in peace.

Allyson Maynard Gibson:
29th June 2017
“Reach out and touch somebody’s hand – make this world a better place if you can”. I have seen the late Honourable Dr. B.J. Nottage hold an elderly woman’s hand and sing her a song. Her demeanour completely changed. BJ, as he was affectionately called by all wanted to and did leave this world a better place.

BJ was an extraordinary human being and a very proud Bahamian patriot and nation builder, whose life exemplifies the Bahamian capacity to rise from humble beginnings to attain the highest heights – which is what he did in his all of his fields of endeavor.

His parents imbued in him the qualities of discipline and hard work which he carried with him throughout his life. They helped him to develop to the fullest potential his athletic and intellectual gifts. Can we imagine a Bahamian, in that era, being accepted to and graduating from Aberdeen University, one of the world’s oldest and prestigious universities, to study medicine?

He was a gifted physician, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Many of his patients (myself included), colleagues, and nurses can speak of his passion for his profession. As an obstetrician, carrying and delivering a healthy baby was a team effort and one into which he put his heart and soul for each patient. He encouraged fathers to attend childbirth classes and the birth of their children – this was a breakthrough for Bahamian men. His standard was excellence. Nothing else would do.

Before he became involved in front line politics, while practicing medicine, he led many initiatives that helped people and changed the Bahamian landscape. The Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association and the Bahamas Family Planning Association are two such initiatives. In these, and others, he pursued a transformative vision and heavily invested his time and resources. Many of us can recall BJ regularly articulating in relation to these initiatives a clear vision and, supported by statistics, reporting on their successes, which were measured by how they were transforming lives. The Bahamas hosting the World Relays and the relays possibly becoming a permanent fixture in The Bahamas was the result of his effort – together with his “boys” who include Keith Parker and Mike Sands.

His quest for transformation led him, with the late Charles Maynard, to form the Coalition of Democratic Reform, of which he became the CEO. Their platform should be mandatory reading in all political science classes.

As Minister of Consumer Affairs, wanting to ensure that poor people could afford to eat he supported the Price Control Division and its enforcement efforts. As Minister of National Insurance he supported the computerization thrust so that people all over The Bahamas could more easily access these benefits. As Minister of Health he led the first National Health Insurance initiative. As Minister of Education he initiated, with Churches, programs so that troubled youth could finish school and he ardently supported efforts to equip the disabled and to open preschools so that everyone could have access to a good education. As Minister of National Security he was deeply concerned about the safety and advancement of the men and women in the security forces. The Department of Correctional Services saw tremendous advances and change because he believed in the redemptive power of a second chance. And, in that Ministry he initiated creative transformative strategies, that involve changing lives and are leading to the overall reduction in crime as was spoken about in the House of Assembly during the Budget debate. As a Cabinet colleague he always cared about how initiatives would transform lives.

Although and Anglican, he was an honorary member of other churches and was always willing to assist in the Lord’s vineyard.

BJ, was a loyal friend and colleague and a mentor. He always made time for people. Many people have spoken about how he enriched their lives – materially and otherwise.

My conversations with BJ led me to recognize that more than anything else he valued “family”. He was a family man. He loved Portia, his wife, who totally loved and supported him and made sure that he was comfortable at home. He loved his family and treasured their rich contribution to every realm of Bahamian life, including the arts, and they in turn loved him – deeply.

My husband Max, and my entire family, join me in extending deepest condolences to Portia; his siblings Kendal, Sandra and Philip; his son Brian and his entire family. May the soul of this great Bahamian man rest in peace.

Philip Brave Davis MP:
28TH JUNE 2017

For Immediate Release
The family of the Progressive Liberal Party mourns the passing of the Hon. Dr. Bernard Jonathan Nottage, a brother, chief political warrior, friend, colleague and policymaker.

A giant in local sports development, the medical profession and politics, Dr. Nottage’s footprints will forever be etched on the Bahamian developmental landscape, having served as President of the BAAA’s; president of the Bahamas Medical Association and Doctor’s Union; a Member of Parliament for the constituencies of Kennedy and Bain and Grants Town; a Senator and a Cabinet Minister in several Ministries including Consumer Affairs, Education, Health and National Security.

Dr. Nottage was the ultimate political warrior and patriot par excellence, offering of his talents in public service, within service groups, and in nation building right up to the time of his passing.

He fundamentally believed in the ideals of the Progressive Liberal Party, the party in which he served for the greater part of his political life. Through leadership struggles, a temporary parting of ways and through reconciliation, the principles of social justice, economic justice and a sense of fair play and a level playing field always dominated Dr. Nottage’s political philosophy; the Progressive Liberal Party and the nation by extension are better for his unselfish contribution to national development.

His inherent service ideals were passed down from his father, a police officer. It was most appropriate that he became the nation’s chief law enforcement officer as Minister of National Security. He was passionate about resolving the issues that concern at-risk youths, particularly our males. He was particularly moved about the absence of the father figure in the home and started the program that called on adult males to become father figures in their communities.

Dr. Bernard ‘BJ’ Nottage served as the member for Garden Hills from 1987 to 1992 and the former Kennedy constituency from 1992 to 2002. He would serve two terms as the honourable member for Bain & Grants Town from 2007 to 2017, where he served as Leader of Opposition business (2007-2012) and Government business (2012-2017 in the House.

Dr. Nottage was sworn in as Minister of National Security and Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly on the 10th of May 2012. In his capacity as Minister of National Security, he had responsibility for the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and the Prisons Department. Fighting crime was a priority during his tenure as Minister of National Security. Dr. Nottage launched the Citizens Security and Justice Programme in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, a program which aims to target the complex and diverse factors driving crime in The Bahamas in addition to the establishment of a national parole system.

It is my sincere hope that his vision for the further development of the Bain and Grants Town community will continue to the benefit of its residents. One such program is called “Renovating Bains and Grants Towns (RBGT)”, which will aim to increase home ownership, create job training programmes, set up a fee waiver for students sitting national examinations, and establish a Bains Town and Grants Town Community Council.

Other important programs include the establishment of a multi-purpose Community Centre to provide the following activities: a community band, computer literacy programmes, adult literacy and vocational programmes, after school activities for children, legal aid clinic, employment agency, crime watch group, and sports and recreational activities.

As his parliamentary and cabinet colleague, I am honoured to have served with Dr. Nottage. His thorough, methodical, detailed and deliberative management style, ensuring no stone was left unturned, served me well in public life and I cherish our professional relationship and friendship.

On behalf of my family and the PLP family, on behalf of the Bain and Grants Town Constituency, and on my own behalf, I express sincere condolences to his dear wife Portia, his two sons and grand children. I am confident that God’s grace is sufficient for the Nottage family during their hour of need.

U. S Government:
30 June
The United States government and the American people were saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Bernard J. Nottage. Those who had the privilege of working with him appreciated his willingness to tackle some of the thorniest issues in our countries’ bilateral relationship and his ability to do so with warmth and kindness.

During his tenure as Minister of National Security, Dr. Nottage’s unwavering dedication to ending human trafficking led to The Bahamas being upgraded to a Tier 1 country and remaining there for the past three years. Under his direction, The Bahamas introduced new methods to combat violent crime, helping to make Bahamians safer and more secure.

Dr. Nottage forged an even stronger international partnership between The Bahamas and the United States by advancing the bilateral security cooperation that our countries have enjoyed for decades, cooperation built on our shared values. The U.S. Embassy greatly appreciated his steadfast support.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dr. Nottage’s wife Mrs. Portia Nottage, family, friends, and the people of The Bahamas. Alongside all of you, we honor his legacy and mourn the passing of a warm and generous man.