NASSAU| Sir Godfrey Kelly was an historic figure, and his death today at the age of 93 marks the end of an era in our nation.
He was at his passing the most senior former cabinet minister and the most senior former parliamentarian in our country. He served in the first ever Cabinet of The Bahamas as the first ever Minister of Education (1964-1967); and he was the last surviving member of the historic 1956-1962 House of Assembly which witnessed for the first time the emergence of the two-party system as the main engine of the Bahamian political order.
He represented the Cat Island constituency in the Assembly from 1956 to 1968, after which he also served in the Senate. Of special note, he served as a member of the historic Constitutional Conference in London in 1963 which ushered in internal self-government for The Bahamas a year later.
In addition to his service as a statesman, Sir Godfrey was a Cambridge-educated lawyer of uncommon distinction and quite exceptional ability, especially in the specialist spheres of conveyancing, wills and estates.
He was admired for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Bahamian land law, his meticulous and expert draftsmanship, and his proficiency in attending to a wide variety of corporate and transactional work.
He was a dedicated member of the bar for just under 69 years and at his death had the singular distinction of being its most senior member. Beyond his many political, professional and sporting accomplishments, Sir Godfrey was widely acclaimed for his deep sense of patriotic loyalty to The Bahamas and for his generous spirit of philanthropy most of which he dispensed without publicity or fanfare of any kind.
He was also noted for his gentlemanly demeanour and unfailing courtesy to others, and for his accessibility to young persons, especially novice-attorneys in search of guidance and advice on questions of legal intricacy.
Sir Godfrey Kelly was an outstanding Bahamian statesman, an exceptionally fine lawyer, and, above all, a good man. May he Rest In Peace.