I have been fortunate to have known the late Peter Donald Graham, who passed into eternity recently. As a lawyer by profession, I would have heard and read about Mr. Graham for countless years. He was highly regarded as a skilled commercial and asset management practitioner. He was the founding partner of Messrs. Graham, Thompson & Company, one of the premier multiracial-based law firms in the nation and indeed, throughout the wider Caribbean.
Peter was elected to the House of Assembly to represent ably, the great constituency of Long Island while in his late twenties. He also served as a minister in the first Cabinet of The Bahamas, then-headed by the late, great Sir Roland Theodore Symonette, our first premier. Yes, he might have been a member of the United Bahamian Party (UBP), but so what?
In my teenage years, I too, under the persuasive influence of my late paternal uncle, Urban Bernard Toote, was an active and very vocal supporter of that entity. I make no apologies. In the 1960s, the emerging Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was viewed by many black Bahamians as too radical and to be honest, its members were suspected, erroneously in retrospect, of being communists or worse.
Peter D. Graham was a man for all seasons. A husband, father and patron of all sorts of causes, he will be remembered fondly, so long as there is the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. I would hope that the history of people like Peter, et al, in our local schools – I don’t want to hear and read any stupidity about UBPs being racists because, no doubt, many of its members were. In fact, in some form or the other, we are all discriminatory or exhibit occasional racist traits vis-a-vis our Haitian brothers and sisters.
A few years after I was disbarred, I happened to be walking along Bay Street, when I encountered Peter who was approaching in the opposite direction. We were, of course, known to each other. He invited me to accompany him back to his chambers. I did so. Once there, he escorted me into his private lair where we chatted for a long time. He and my late father, the Reverend Dr. Ortland H. Bode Sr., were great business partners and friends.
At the end of the conversation, he took out his check book, without any requests or promptings by me. He wrote out a check and slid it across his desk to me. He stated that he understood how difficult it could be for a disbarred lawyer in The Bahamas and that it was a gift. It was for almost five thousand dollars. Talk about the UBP and white Bahamians. May his soul rest in peace and remember that in all things, even death, to God be the glory.
– Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.