Former Cabinet minister George Smith dies

Former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet Minister George Smith, who had been one of five remaining signatories to The Bahamas constitution, has died.

He was 80.

Prime Minister Philip Davis categorized Smith as a “steadfast advocate for the Bahamian people, a dedicated public servant, and a passionate voice for progress.”

“Born in Exuma, George chose a life of service to his people. He was a tireless advocate for Majority Rule and was actively involved in the political evolution of our nation,” Davis added in a statement.

“His contributions to the pivotal events in Bahamian history will forever be remembered.

“As minister of agriculture, fisheries and local government, George played a significant role in the accelerated production of agricultural and marine products, leading to the economic empowerment of many Bahamians. He also served as chairman of the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation during the introduction of cellular services and of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas, overseeing key developments in our tourism sector.”

Smith, a former member of Parliament for Exuma, was among the group of 15 Bahamian men who traveled to London in December 1972 for the constitutional talks with the British.

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, who currently represents Exuma, said he counts it an honor to follow in his footsteps as the member of Parliament for Exuma and a member of Cabinet.

Speaking of Smith, Copper said, “He was a signatory to the constitution and a legend in politics, with a sharp mind and a deep vault of historical knowledge.

“George was a fellow Exumian, and a long-time mentor and friend. He supported me in all of my political efforts.

“He had a fierce love for Exuma and an unwavering commitment to The Bahamas.

“He was a fighter for the Progressive Cause. A greater patriot I have not known.”

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