Edmund Moxey, cultural giant, dies at 80
Cultural giant, musician and former Coconut Grove MP Edmund Spencer Moxey died yesterday morning in hospital.
He was 80.
Pastor Mario Moxey, his son, said Moxey was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit on Friday and diagnosed with pneumonia.
Moxey said his father was surrounded by close relatives when he died at 12:23 a.m.
Edmund Moxey, the creator of Jumbey Village, a recreation of a Bahamian village on Baillou Hill Road, and the Jumbey Festival, was born on Ragged Island in December 1933.
He moved to New Providence where he joined the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in the 1950s.
He was among the PLP members who ushered in majority rule when the party won the 1967 general election.
During his tenure he vigorously promoted and encouraged a deeper appreciation for Bahamian culture.
Moxey served as parliamentary secretary for community development from 1968 to 1971.
He resigned from the PLP in 1977 after a falling out with then Prime Minister Lynden Pindling.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is no freedom in Pindling’s PLP,” he said at the time.
“There is no justice in Pindling’s PLP. There is no way of life in Pindling’s PLP. There comes a time when all real men make serious decisions. This evening, I have made one. I resign from the Progressive Liberal Party.”
Moxey later served as a senator for the Bahamian Democratic Party, and as a member of the Free National Movement (FNM).
Later in 1977, he called for the resignation of Pindling and his Cabinet and said he was prepared “to go even unto death to bring about the liberty of my people”.
He later staged a lie-in, in the House of Assembly in protest of the government’s decision to borrow $11 million.
As a senator in 1978, he ripped up amendments to the Lotteries and Gaming Act, during debate on the bill, as he said the bill “spells serious trouble for the Bahamian people”.
He also fended off several offers to return to the PLP.
Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday described Moxey as a cultural warrior, community activist and a musician extraordinaire.
He recalled that it was during Moxey’s time as parliamentary secretary that he began the development of Jumbey Village.
“The late Edmund Moxey was a man who straddled many worlds,” he said in a statement.
“His early life was spent as a Bahamas telecommunications wireless operator in his native Ragged Island, in Crooked Island and in Coopers Town, Abaco, before moving to Nassau.
“It was in these remote communities that he came to understand the challenges of life in The Bahamas in the 50s and early 60s.
“He will be best remembered, however, for his many years of fearless involvement in front line politics as one of the youthful members of the Progressive Liberal Party and in particular, its activist wing, the National Committee for Positive Action.”
Christie said he was pleased that Moxey was recognized and honored as a Bahamian cultural icon during the celebration of the 41st anniversary of Bahamian independence.
“It was a well-deserved accolade,” he said.
“Ed Moxey was a true Bahamian patriot and his passing will leave a void in the political and cultural life of our nation.”
Sir Arthur Foulkes, former governor general, said he was deeply saddened to learn of Moxey’s death.
“Mr. Moxey was a fine human being, a genuine nation-builder and a Bahamian patriot of the first order,” Sir Arthur said in a statement.
“He possessed all the credentials of nobility.”
Sir Arthur, a close friend of Moxey from the early days of the PLP, said his passion for cultural development never wavered over the years.
“He was always prepared to pay the price of his convictions and commitment to our country, however high that price might have been,” he said.
“We have been enriched by his life and service and The Bahamas is a far better place because he lived.
“I believe that The Bahamas would have been an even better place today had his vision for our cultural development been allowed to flourish.”
Moxey, a pianist, played with many performers during his career including his bands Edmund Moxey and Friends and the Coconut Grove Chorale and Folklore Troupe.
Pastor Mario recalled that his father was a freedom fighter who never regretted any of his decisions.
“He was a defender for those who could not defend themselves,” he said.
“He lived a very selfless life.
“As a result of him standing and speaking out against injustices, he was victimized for it.”
Long-time friend Theresa Moxey-Ingraham said many people thought that Moxey was her father.
“He was very, very close to my family,” she said while appearing on the Love 97 talk show ‘Issues of the Day’ with host Wendall Jones.
“He was my MP for all the time he was an MP.”
Recalling his campaign in 1967, she said, “I remember the day he came to our house and knocked on our door to say who he was and I remember my mother saying, ‘We know who you are and you have our support’.
“He was different for his day. He was the kind of representative who inspired you to want to do things and do things differently. He saw a need and made efforts to address that need.”
Former Director of Culture Dr. Nicolette Bethel said yesterday it is “indisputable that the vision he had for Jumbey Village was something that was ahead of its time”
Freddie Munnings Jr., also appearing on Issues of the Day, said many cultural icons are fading away.
“I feel like our giants are being lost to us and we only seem to come together when it is a time when they cannot hear how we really and truly feel about them,” he said.
Moxey is survived by his wife Sylvia; his two sons Pastor Mario and Marlon Johnson; and four daughters Debra, Marva and Sharon Moxey and Hope Johnson.