Former Governor General of The Bahamas dies
NASSAU, The Bahamas, Wednesday December 28, 2011 - Bahamians are mourning the death of Sir Clifford Darling, the nation’s fourth Governor-General who passed away yesterday at the age of 89.
Current Head of State Sir Arthur Foulkes said Sir Clifford was his friend and colleague for many years. He said the death of this “outstanding leader and nation-builder” was “a personal loss”.
“Sir Clifford was among those extraordinary Bahamian leaders who commanded the Bahamian stage during the history-making years of the fifties and sixties, and he played his considerable role with dedication and with his characteristic dignity,” the governor general said in a statement.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said Bahamians owe “a debt of gratitude to Sir Clifford for his half a century of public service marked by honesty, industry, loyalty and integrity.”
“Sir Clifford’s passing brings to a close another remarkable career of an early nation builder and pioneer for equality,” he said, adding that the former governor general was a hero of the labour movement.
In his tribute, Leader of the Opposition, Perry Christie said the deceased statesman was one of the major builders of the modern Bahamas and a true national hero.
“…It was Sir Clifford's courageous leadership during the 1958 General Strike that constituted his greatest single accomplishment,” he said on behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
“As the leader of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union at the time, it was Sir Clifford who instigated and led what is rightly regarded as the largest and most successful struggle in the entire history of the labour movement in The Bahamas, a struggle that began with the blockading of the airport by Sir Clifford and his fellow taxi-drivers.
“Of even greater significance than that, however, it was the General Strike that sparked the final phase of the political struggle that would lead to the attainment of Majority Rule in 1967.”
Sir Clifford, a lifelong member of the PLP, entered Parliament as a Senator in 1964 and was elected to the House of Assembly in 1967.
In 1969, he was appointed to the Cabinet where he served as Minister of Labour and National Insurance.
He was knighted in 1977, the same year he was elected Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Sir Clifford was appointed Governor General in 1992 and served as head of state until 1995.
During a visit to The Bahamas in 1994, Her Majesty the Queen made him a Member of the Grand Commander of the Victorian Order (GCVO).