Prime Minister Davis’s remarks at the State Funeral of the Honorable A. Loftus Roker

Lady Roker, Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, and the beloved family of the Honorable A. Loftus Roker,

What is a statesman? Today, as we gather to pay our respects, we reflect on this question through the life and legacy of one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants, the Honorable A. Loftus Roker. A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come. Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.

Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress. His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work—an ethos that defined his entire career.

Loftus Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his bold and transformative policies. His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation. He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.

Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets— some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques—a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.

Reflecting on his incredible journey and contributions, we recall his early foray into politics, a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so. This bold move was not just a youthful transgression but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance.

It was my profound privilege to stand with him in Pompey Bay last August, where we recognized his lifelong service to our nation by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour. This act not only commemorated his legacy but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace—tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived. 

Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.

As we say farewell to this stalwart of Bahamian history, let us remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to our beloved nation. His legacy will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker—a man whose life answered that question resoundingly. May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.

Loftus Roker was not just a part of our history; he helped write it. As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation. His memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always illuminate the path forward.

Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership. Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.

May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem. May you rest in peace. 

On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of their patriarch.

May he rest in peace.