Today (Friday March 20th) Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield would have been 79 years old. Sir Cecil, the first leader of the Free National Movement died on Wednesday 9th May 1990, in a Miami hospital, where he had gone for cancer treatment. He was 60 years old.
When Cecil left us, the heart of this writer felt as if a part of me had died as well. Cecil was a LION. Like an Obama he inspired and CHALLENGED ANYONE who dared him. Cecil was NO FAKE! He was NO TRAITOR! HE WAS FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD. He drew to the party BLACK AND WHITE BAHAMIANS! More than anyone since his days he brought Bahamians together. To this writer, he was the last man standing when challenged by Pindling. He spoke his mind! And Ohhhhhhh what an orator he was. Boy, we miss him like a son misses his father.
We remember the day we got the news Cecil died, oh man from that day to this our prayers have been, “Lord send us another soldier like him.” We still pray that prayer.
In 1967, the Progressive Liberal Party came to power under the Wallace-Whitfield chairmanship. He masterminded the PLP’s win into government. Pindling then appointed him to the Cabinet.
Whitfield championed the new vision for Education in those early years of the national development. From one high school The Government High School, to an explosion of schools across the country. Many schools as minister were constructed in the Bahamas under his tenure as minister.
But he became disillusioned with the party and resigned his post in 1970 at the PLP convention. Those bold eagle eyes of Cecil saw what Bahamians did not see happening in the PLP until 1992.
His words will always be remembered in our hearts at Bahamas Press. Especially the words he said that faithful night when he resigned from the PLP, “Free at last! Free at last! My soul is dancing!” A few months later, a group he headed was expelled from the party and it formed the Free National Movement. It is in that context we SALUTE THIS GREAT BAHAMIAN SON! It is in this context we lift him high today! He was MY HERO!
And to join the fitting words of the late Sir Lynden Pindling as he described Cecil in death, “A National Hero of the First Order!”
To his wife Lady Naomi Wallace-Whitfield, we will always LOVE HIM!