Sir Milo Butler

He was born in Nassau on August 11,1906, to George Roland and Frances Manesta Butler and educated at the public school at Rum Cay, the Boy’s Central School, Nassau and George Washington School, Florida.

He held the strong belief that blacks, comprising 85 percent of the population, should control the government and embarked on a political career, spanning more than three decades, to bring that about.

In the 1936 elections, Sir Milo ran against the late Sir Harry Oakes and lost; the following year he ran against the late Dr K.V. A Rodgers in a by-election and won. He was unopposed in the 1942 election.

In the 1949 election he was unsuccessful, but in 1956, after joining the three-year-old Progressive Liberal Party, he won the Western District and became a powerful voice for the PLP inside and outside of the House.

Sir Milo’s political career was not an easy one. In 1965, in defiance of the 12-minute speech rule, he tossed the Speaker’s hour-glass through the window of the House after Sir Lynden Pindling had thrown out the mace.

Sir Milo represented The Western District up to the January, 1967 election, when he was elected for the new Bain Town Constituency. He was appointed Minister of Health and Welfare in 1967 and became Minister of Labor, Agriculture & Fisheries in 1968following the general election of April 10 in which the PLP an overwhelming majority. In 1970 he was made Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries.

Following the September, 1972, general election in which the PLP won 29 of the 38 seats, Prime Minister Pindling advised Her Majesty the Queen to appoint Sir Milo, “an outstanding patriarch,”

In June 1972 Sir Milo was honoured by Special Resolution of the Honourable House of Assembly and acclaimed a National Hero. On 1 August 1973 he was sworn in as the first Bahamian Governor-General. Knighted in the Birthday Honours 1973, Sir Milo was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of St. Michael and St. George. He was again honoured by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in February 1975 during her visit to Nassau when he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

An outspoken statesman, he was on the forefront to end racial discrimination and other civil liberties.

On January 22, 1993, a bust of Sir Milo was resurrected in Rawson Square as a tribute to the national hero.

“He championed the cause of the underclass, when such an undertaking lacked popularity and offered no glamour, at the risk of invoking even the displeasure of many of his own colleagues. He extolled the virtues and humanity of those whose cause he championed, though embodied in black skin and relegated to poverty,” said his son Franklyn Butler, during the ceremony of the unveiling of the Sir Milo bust.