Thomas Bastian Passes Away, Veteran Trade Unionist

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The following statement was issued by Prime Minister Philip Davis upon learning of the death of Thomas Bastian, trade unionist:

Hon. Philip Davis QC MP

Prime Minister, Commonwealth of The Bahamas

For Immediate Release

22 September 2021

The Bahamas has lost a giant of the labour movement and a nation builder in the name of Thomas Bastian. I join Bahamians from all walks of life in mourning his passing.

As the Secretary General and later, president of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union, Mr. Bastian was credited with building that institution into one of the largest and most powerful labour unions in The Bahamas.

The Worker’s Bank, a day care centre, a laundromat, a restaurant, and three union buildings were among the union’s impressive list of commercial acquisitions and extensive real estate holdings under the leadership of Mr. Bastian.

He was a good friend and I always admired his conviction – expressed through his ardent advocacy for the rights and protection of the Bahamian worker. Many of the rights and employment benefits enjoyed by hotel workers today were the result of his dogged tenacity and determination in protecting the rights and job security of hotel workers.

Even though we found ourselves sometimes on opposite sides of the negotiating table, he was always respectful of me, my colleagues and the process.

 He was the architect behind two Memoranda of Understanding with the Progressive Liberal Party on the way forward for Bahamian workers  – one signed in 1977 and the most recent MOU signed in 2021.

His passing brings to an end a significant era in the country’s labour movement. Thomas Bastian has left big shoes to be filled with many miles to travel before rest is taken.

I thank him for his service to the labour movement and to our country.

Having completed your earthly assignment with distinction, go with God Thomas Bastian and may the angels greet you at the gates and escort you to the Holy City Jerusalem. 

On behalf of my wife, Ann Marie, Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. I. Chester Cooper, my cabinet and Parliamentary colleagues, and the officers and members of the Progressive Liberal Party, I express heartfelt condolences to the family of Thomas Bastian on his passing. I extend the same to his extended family in the labour movement. 

I continue to pray for your solace and comfort.

May the soul of Thomas Bastian rest in peace.

PQA