Official Statement from Prime Minister Davis on the Passing of the Honourable A. Loftus Roker

On behalf of my wife, Ann Marie Davis, and the People of The Bahamas, I express our deepest condolences on the passing of the Honourable A. Loftus Roker.

From a young age, Loftus Roker was deeply moved by the injustices he witnessed, especially against people of colour. This profound sense of fairness and desire for change led him to run for public office in 1956, even though he was too young to vote or stand as a candidate legally. This early attempt to enter politics, thwarted by his age, underscored his fearless resolve and determination to seek political solutions to societal challenges, setting the stage for his future career as a reform-minded leader.

Loftus Roker was a distinguished statesman and an advocate for justice and security. His contributions during critical periods of our history were pivotal, driven by his passion for our nation’s prosperity and a deeply held belief in the Bahamian spirit. His leadership as Minister of National Security and Immigration was marked by significant and transformative policies that have shaped the course of our nation.

Beyond his public service, Mr. Roker was a cherished family man and a wise counsel to many. His wisdom, integrity, and courage were his hallmarks, touching everyone who knew him. 

Returning home, he quickly became one of the few black lawyers practising then. He never sat on the sidelines but launched his political career, swiftly making a mark with his tenacious and no-nonsense leadership style. Whether on the backbench or as a minister, he spoke his mind and shaped our country’s policies with a vision of freedom and equality. Mr. Roker was celebrated throughout his career for his candidness and unrelenting dedication to the truth. He was the conscience of the Progressive Liberal Party, a tireless advocate for transparency and accountability in government. His voice, often the standard for political candour, resonated in the halls of power, urging us to prioritize the common good above all.

 Loftus Roker was our source of moral clarity. 

“God is good, and he sent our nation leaders of vision and courage when we needed them,” I once said about him. As one of the few signatories of our independence agreement still with us then, his contributions to our national dialogue remained invaluable. Loftus’s journey was truly remarkable, from a childhood in Acklins to key roles in our national governance.

Loftus Roker’s role as a signatory to The Bahamas’ independence underlines his profound dedication to our nation’s self-governance. In his own words, he embarked on the historic trip to London in 1972 to negotiate our independence because he “believed in freedom.” His signature on the agreement cemented his legacy as a pivotal figure in shaping our sovereign nation, epitomizing his commitment to the principles of liberty and self-determination.

His kindness and mentorship extended beyond his public duties; he supported and encouraged professional progress for Bahamians, embodying the spirit of nation-building. I cherished his friendship and the wise counsel he provided, often reflecting on his encouragement when our law firm’s first office was rented in his building—a space he ensured we had to start our practice.

He often shared that one of his proudest moments was passing the Junior Cambridge Examinations while attending an all-age school. This accomplishment at a young age was not just a personal milestone; it symbolized his dedication and capacity for hard work. Roker treasured these results, keeping them close as a reminder of where his journey began and his potential to impact the world around him significantly.

The renaming of the Acklins Central High School in honour of Loftus Roker is a proud tribute to a son of Acklins whose life’s work has greatly impacted our nation. It was a profound privilege to share this occasion with Mr. Roker before his passing, recognizing his indelible contributions right in the heart of his hometown. This gesture ensures that his legacy will inspire not just current but future generations of Acklins’ children. They can look up to a figure from their community as a beacon of leadership and dedication. Witnessing his joy and humility during the ceremony reminded him of the deep connection between his legacy and the roots that shaped him. This school, bearing his name, will continue to symbolise pride and possibility for all who walk its halls.

Loftus Roker’s memory will continue to inspire us all, reminding us of the profound impact one individual can have on a nation’s destiny. Thank you, Mr. Roker, for your indelible service to The Bahamas. 

Farewell, my brother. The pages of history will remember you; you have written your story. I join Bahamians everywhere in saying goodbye to this social warrior who believed unapologetically in the sovereignty of The Bahamas and was unapologetic in his nationalism. 

As we mourn his loss, we stand with his family, offering prayers and support. Go on and rest, my friend.