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Bahamas Prime Minister’s statement on the passing of Rev. Dr. Earl Francis

7057079a5346bef137a91ad47f3e4fdca50fff45_200x250_Q75Friday, 04 April 2014 08:35

I note with great sadness the passing of Reverend Dr. Earl Francis, the dean of the Baptist clergy in The Bahamas and a Bahamian patriot of the first order.

Rev. Dr. Francis led a long and extraordinary life of service to the Baptist faith and the Bahamian people.  He was an outspoken and courageous preacher and one of our nation’s most respected spiritual leaders.  By his personal example, he inspired successive generations of his compatriots to hold dear the virtues of family life.  Of particularly poignant note in this regard, he was the personification of what it meant to be a devoted husband.  His public professions of love for his wife whom he affectionately called “Sweet Potato” are the stuff of enduring legend.  Long before it became fashionable for Bahamian men to do so, he was openly expressive of his love for his wife and children who, in their own right, continue to make major contributions to our nation in areas as diverse as religion, health care and culture.

Rev. Earl was also a noted freedom fighter in the era of struggle for Majority Rule. As the brother of the Rev. Carlton Francis, one of the major political and trade union figures of his time, Reverend Earl himself played a vital role in the great historic movement for change.

The same fiery passion of social justice and freedom that motivated him in that period would stay with him in the ensuing years, indeed to the very end of his life.  Rev. Earl had enormous love for the people of the “Over-the-Hill” community, especially the downtrodden and dispossessed, and he remained committed to their welfare throughout his life.

Rev. Earl Francis was also a pioneer in Over-The-Hill tourism.  A true visionary, he was the proprietor for many years of one of the early hotels to be built in that comparatively depressed part of New Providence. Although this was a venture that involved a great deal of financial risk, Rev. Earl firmly believed that black, inner-city communities had to develop financial independence and economic vitality of their own, and he was not afraid to set the pace by venturing forth where few had dared venture before him.

On behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas and on my own behalf and my wife’s behalf I extend deepest condolences to the widow, children and wider family of Reverend Dr. Earl Francis.

The Baptist faith and The Bahamas have lost one of their most distinguished and faithful servants.  May he rest in peace.


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