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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sir Randol Fawkes Remembered

Francis Fawkes Remembers Sir Randol Fawkes

Sir Randol Fawkes - A Bahamian Hero and Father of Labour in The Bahamas

It was in 1961, that Sir Randol Fawkes moved a bill in the House of Assembly to establish Labour Day as a paid public holiday.  School children need to know their past in order to understand the direction of our national vision.  They know about Labour Day, but they have to make the connection to Sir Randol Fawkes.

The Minister, Shane Gibson also said that it was fitting to have The House of Labour declared a historical site.  I remember when the House of Labour was being built - Dr Martin Luther King Jr. paid my Father a visit in the unfinished building.  He had heard of the similar struggles and trials that my father had to endure for the advancement of coloured people.

My father anticipated independence at a time that Bahamians thought it was perilous to have it.  The sentiment at the time was that we could not defend ourselves.

I also recall the beginning of Majority Rule.  One day as a student riding from St. Augustine's College, I went upstairs in the House of Labour to store my Raleigh bicycle, before I went home in our Falcon.  At the top of the stairs, I was introduced to former Prime Minister, Lynden O. Pindling.  My father told me that they were going to deliberate in a meeting on his becoming Prime Minister.

I understood at 14 that my father's vote was pivotal in determining which of the two parties would govern.  In my mind, I remembered thinking that if he sided with the UBP he could go down as a traitor.  He sided with the PLP at the time, and the first coalition Labour/PLP government was formed.  What did he want in return?  He replied: "Government with integrity."  He told me later that he was given the Ministry of Labour and Commerce with copyright in its portfolio.

My father would have agreed with what took place on 17th April, 2013 as parliamentarians paid tribute to him.  Most of his accomplishments were viewed in proper perspective.  Many told of his successes and trials with quite a measure of integrity and candour.  "Righteousness does indeed exalt a nation (Proverbs 14:34).