State recognises William ‘Bill’ Cartwright, last founding member of PLP

Members of the armed forces of The Bahamas carry the mahogany casket containing the body of the late William “Bill” Cartwright CMG to his final resting place at the Sacred Heart Cemetery.

NASSAU, The Bahamas — A State Recognised Funeral was held for William “Bill” Cartwright CMG, one of the three founding members of the Progressive Liberal Party at St Gregory’s Anglican Church, Monday, June 18, 2012.  Rector of St Gregory’s, Reverend Father S. Sebastian Campbell, officiated.

Mr. Cartwright, a native of Long Island died at age 89 on June 7 at the Princess Margaret Hospital.  He was the last surviving founder of the PLP.  In 1953, he, along with the late Cyril Stevenson and the late Sir Henry Taylor founded the party.

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie told the congregation that the government has passed legislation in parliament, so that Bahamians who have sacrificed and served their country will receive the honours they deserve, including that of being called a “national hero.”

He charged both the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Daniel Johnson and the government leader in the House of Assembly, Dr. the Hon. Bernard Nottage, with moving that legislation forward.

The Prime Minister added that more should be done in the country to institutionalise and honour individuals like Cartwright, who helped The Bahamas to grow and prosper.

“One of the things we must do and have done under the College of The Bahamas and ultimately the University of The Bahamas, is to move immediately to record the history of our country, to fill in the gaps that have been left by those who have authored their own experiences,” he said.

Reverend Father Campbell, who is also head of the National Heroes Committee, said the country has failed to honour Cartwright.

“We wait patiently for people of the stature Bill Cartwright to die then we flirt with the term ‘National Hero’ of the first order.”

He pushed for those who have sacrificed and given of themselves to receive the honour and respect they deserve from both the government and the country.

Besides the Prime Minister and Mrs Bernadette Christie, family and friends turned out to celebrate the life of Mr. Cartwright.  Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes; Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and other dignitaries were also in attendance.

Mr. Cartwright devoted some 20 years to public life. He was elected to the House for the Cat Island District in 1949 and served in Parliament for seven years.