PRESS RELEASE BY
THE RT. HON. PERRY G. CHRISTIE PC MP
LEADER OF THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION
On the Passing of Sir Clifford Darling KT JP
(February 6th 1922-December 27th 2011)
December 27th 2011
I mourn the passing of our esteemed former Governor-General, Sir Clifford Darling, one of the major builders of the modern Bahamas and a true national hero.
Sir Clifford was credited with many diverse distinctions in the public life of The Bahamas. He was a parliamentarian for more than a quarter of a century, during the course of which he served as a Minister – most notably as Minister of National Insurance – and then later as Speaker of the House of Assembly before being elevated to the office of Governor-General, the highest office in the land.
However, as impressive as those achievements were, it was Sir Clifford’s courageous leadership during the 1958 General Strike that constituted his greatest single accomplishment. 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. Clifford Darling was a major figure in that political struggle as well under the banner of the Progressive Liberal Party.
At a more personal level, Sir Clifford will be remembered by all who knew him as a man of exceptional modesty and uncommon humility. Indeed, it is largely because of that that his achievements, especially in relation to the 1958 General Strike, are not as well-known as they should be. Sir Clifford was also a true Christian gentleman from the old school who treated everyone with kindness and courtesy. He was a wonderful example of civility, even towards his political foes.
Above all, Sir Clifford was a man of tremendous compassion, courage and integrity. He was determined to play his part in the alleviation of human suffering and the upliftment of a long oppressed people. In all his endeavours towards these noble ends, he succeeded grandly, and as a nation we are all the richer for it.
On behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party and on behalf of my wife, Bernadette, and on my own behalf, I extend heartfelt condolences to Sir Clifford’s widow, Ingrid Lady Darling and to all his children and wider family.
May the soul of this great Bahamian rest in peace.