Changing of the guard at Government House: farewell to Dame Marguerite
We wish to offer a grateful thanks to Dame Marguerite Pindling as she concludes her term as governor general of The Bahamas.
Dame Marguerite was not an obvious choice for the post when she was chosen by the former government to serve as Her Majesty’s representative in our country. Her nomination was met with considerable impoliteness at the time and a recounting of her late spouse’s greatest shortcomings was refreshed in many quarters.
Dame Marguerite rose above the din.
During the past four years she has fulfilled her official obligations and responsibilities competently and with great aplomb and an elegance for which she has long been known. And, she continued to lend her support to various charities and causes with which she has had a long association.
Her success in the role of head of state of The Bahamas continues a tradition of her predecessors in post; nearly all deeply partisan individuals who nevertheless put love of country and dedication to duty above personal preferences becoming true symbols of national unity.
Dame Marguerite is deserving of congratulations and appreciation from all Bahamians. We wish her continued good health in her retirement and a long life in which to enjoy it.
Welcoming Cornelius Smith
We congratulate Cornelius Smith on his appointment as governor general.
As with his immediate predecessor, Smith’s appointment has been accompanied by unkind commentary; in his case surrounding his premature disclosure of his selection to a group of colleagues.
While several of our previous governors general have Family Island antecedents, perhaps no one is more closely associated with another of our Family Islands than Smith who, though born in Long Island, served as a member of Parliament from Grand Bahama for 20 years between 1982 and 2002.
Smith has an impressive and significant record of public service.
He began his career as a public school teacher. Later he joined the Customs Department before beginning a stint in the private sector at Syntex in Freeport.
That was followed by his entry into frontline politics as one of the pioneers in the establishment of the present governing party.
He was elected to Parliament on four consecutive occasions.
He was cabinet minister for two consecutive terms with responsibility for education; public safety and immigration; tourism and transport and local government. Later he served as The Bahamas’ ambassador to the United States of America and later still, as non-resident ambassador to the Central American states of Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.
His appointment as head of state is a compliment to both Long Island, his birthplace, and to Grand Bahama, his adopted home.
We note that two former governors general were also Long Island born – Sir Henry Taylor and Dame Ivy Dumont; another, Sir Orville Turnquest, has Long Island antecedents and Sir Milo Butler was married to a Long Islander.
Cornelius Smith’s long and dedicated years of service to the Bahamian people make him a suitable and worthy candidate for this office.
We fully expect that in the execution of his duty he will, like his predecessors, put love of country and dedication to duty above his personal political preferences. We wish him well and we wish him success in his appointment.