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Updated: Dr Bernard Nottage Dies Age 71

The funeral for Dr Bernard Nottage will take place on Friday.

The funeral for Dr Bernard Nottage will take place on Friday.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Bain and Grants Town MP Dr Bernard Nottage died yesterday evening in a Florida hospital, according to a statement from his family.

The 71-year-old was airlifted to the United States on Friday after spending three days in the Intensive Care Unit at Doctors Hospital.

Dr Nottage is survived by his wife, the former Portia Butterfield, and their two sons.

In a statement, Dr Nottage’s family described him as “a husband, dad, papa, brother, uncle, godfather, friend and a Bahamian nationalist.”

The family expressed sincere thanks to everyone who “reached out” and thanked the management, staff and physicians at Doctors Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic in the United States “for the professional care rendered to him”.

“Thank you everyone for your prayers, support and words of encouragement during this very difficult time. May his soul rest in peace,” the statement said.

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Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Last night, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis also released a statement reacting to the death of his colleague and “friend”.

“Dr Nottage was an outstanding medical doctor and political leader,” Dr Minnis said. “But he was first and foremost a Bahamian patriot and native son, who at his core, was deeply committed to the development of The Bahamas and the Caribbean. ‘BJ’ as he was affectionately known to us all, was born into a sporting family and so it was no surprise that he went on to become an outstanding athlete and sports organiser.

“He nurtured generations of aspiring athletes in The Bahamas as well as in the region. He was one of those responsible for first bringing the Carifta Games to The Bahamas and he remained a committed patron of sports to the very end.

“Dr Nottage earned the trust and affection of many patients who found in him a fine medical practitioner who demonstrated an ethic of care and compassion. ‘BJ’ was a Bahamian patriot, whose high sporting profile led him to frontline politics which he used as a platform to advance national development and the common good. He was a dedicated member of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

“He served for a time as chief executive officer and leader of the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR), along with

individuals such as the late Charles Maynard. The CDR was an incubator for many innovative policy and programmatic ideas which endure.

“Our compatriot, brother and friend, ‘BJ’ has finished the race. He has passed the baton on to a new generation of Bahamians. His commitment, caring and all around good nature will be missed.”

Dr Minnis said in due course, the government will announce an appropriate tribute “to this Bahamian patriot.”

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Former Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Former Prime Minister Perry Christie also paid tribute to his former colleague in government.

He said in a statement last night: “It was with profound sadness that I received the news that my political colleague and very dear friend of more than 60 years, Dr Bernard J. Nottage, passed away this evening.

“Dr Nottage was a man of great accomplishment in the spheres of politics, medicine, and athletics. He served as a Cabinet minister in three separate PLP governments: first, under Sir Lynden Pindling, as Minister of Consumer Affairs & Utilities, and later as Minister of Education; then in my first Cabinet as Minister of Health, and in my second Cabinet, as Minister of National Security and Government Leader in the House of Assembly.

“For most of this parliamentary career, Dr Nottage was the Member of Parliament for the Bain Town area of New Providence. In each of his ministerial assignments, Dr Nottage won high praise for his competence, unswerving dedication to public duty and for his absolute incorruptibility. It is particularly noteworthy in this latter regard that throughout his lengthy years in politics, there was never so much as a whisper of ethical impropriety uttered against him. He was a public servant extraordinaire and a patriot of the highest order who, to the end of his days, gave the very best of himself to the service of the Bahamian people.

“Dr Nottage entered frontline politics after a distinguished and successful career as a medical practitioner, specialising in obstetrics and gynecology. He was widely sought after for his expert skills as a surgeon and for his uncompromising dedication to his patients. A perfectionist in the practice of his profession, he was held in great esteem as one of the leading role models and mentors for doctors in our country. Of particular note, he served at various times as both President of the Bahamas Medical Association and President of the Doctors’ Union.

“Dr Nottage was also a gifted athlete and sportsman. He was an outstanding sprinter in his youth and represented The Bahamas in a number of important international sports competitions, including the 1962 Central and Pan American Games and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He was also for many years the President of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association and a tireless proponent of regional and international athletic competition for our young athletes.

“Speaking personally, BJ and I were friends from a very early age. While attending university in the UK, we developed our political interests in tandem with each other. Indeed in 1966 while studying abroad, we co-founded UNICOLL, a political action group and think-tank which was the first organization to mount a sustained campaign calling for Bahamian decolonisation and independence.

“I extend my deepest condolences to BJ’s wife, Portia, his son, Brian, and their entire family, including Dr Nottage’s siblings, Kendal, Sandra and Philip. This is a great loss for them and for our entire nation. May the soul of this great Bahamian rest in peace.”

Last Wednesday, scores of family members, friends and former colleagues descended on Doctors Hospital as reports of Dr Nottage’s critical state began to circulate.

There were also false rumours on social media at the time that he had died.

However, those claims were later debunked by a family statement which clarified his condition and asked for continued privacy.

Party sources have speculated that the former minister of national security was suffering from cancer, however his sickness was never revealed publicly.

Dr Nottage has faced two public health scares this year - appearing ill during a campaign rally in late April and becoming disoriented when he addressed the House of Assembly in February.

‘Patriot’

Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly and PLP member of Parliament for Englerston, Glenys Hanna Martin said her “friend and colleague will be truly missed.”

“His life was a great victory and he was a true son of the soil,” she said.

“‘BJ’ Nottage is a product of a post-1967 Bahamas, highly accomplished and highly achieved. He became one of the most distinguished medical practitioners in the country. He was also an outstanding athlete. He mentored so many people and he will be missed by so many. He gave us decades of distinguished services. I appreciate, so much, the interactions I had with him on a personal level in terms of his sense of humour and he was so personable and very, very, very bright man,” Mrs Hanna Martin said.

PLP Senator Fred Mitchell last night said he was “deeply saddened” by the news.

“He and I served in the Parliament, the Cabinet, in the party,” Mr Mitchell noted in a statement. “We were at one time co-dissenters. We travelled the road of public life in all its phases.

“Each year with our mutual friend Dr Franklin Walkine we gathered at Christmas Day for breakfast with our friends. The gathering in the last few years was only three. We toasted last year not knowing but also realising that one or other or all might not return this year. It is now only two.

“He was the consummate perfectionist. He was a patriot. He loved the Bahamas. He loved the people of Bain and Grants Town and Kennedy where he served as MP.”

Former member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte Dr Andre Rollins also offered condolences to the Nottage family yesterday, describing him as a “distinguished gentleman.”

“Surely, at times politics sought to make a caricature of him but he was indeed a man of substance and character,” Dr Rollins posted to Facebook. “His job was one of tremendous stress for which he suffered immense criticism. However, he carried himself with dignity and strength.

“He made no effort to make politics a business of personal enrichment or self-aggrandisement. He was a nationalist. I thank him for his sacrifice on behalf of our nation. “My condolences to his wife, Portia Nottage, and his entire family. May he rest in peace.”

Early life

Dr Nottage was born in Nassau on October 23, 1945 to the late Bernard Nottage Sr and Olevia Nottage.

He received his training as a gynaecologist at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

An outstanding athlete in track and field, Dr Nottage was also a long-time president of the Bahamas Amateur Athletics Association (BAAA).

Over the course of his political career, Dr Nottage served as a Cabinet minister in one Pindling administration and two Christie administrations.

Dr Nottage was first appointed chairman of the National Insurance Board in 1982.

In the subsequent general election in 1987, Dr Nottage successfully contested the Garden Hills constituency.

In 1989, Dr Nottage was appointed minister of consumer affairs and then minister of education in 1990.

However, Dr Nottage left the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to assist in the formation of the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR) and was elected leader of the third party in early 2000.

Dr Nottage unsuccessfully led the party into the 2002 general election.

In 2005, he returned to the then governing PLP and was afterwards appointed to the Senate.

Three months later, Dr Nottage was appointed Minister of Health and National Insurance by then Prime Minister Perry Christie.

In 2007, Dr Nottage was appointed leader of opposition business in Parliament and in 2012 leader of government business in Parliament. He served as minister of national security from 2012-2017.

Dr Nottage was defeated in the 2017 general election by 22-year-old Travis Robinson in the Bain and Grants Town constituency.

He was a member of the Anglican church community.

Comments

truetruebahamian 1 year, 3 months ago

Rest on Dr. Nottage. Even those of us who were on the other side of the aisle in conscience respected you and your wish to do good for our beloved country.

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Lammy123 1 year, 3 months ago

My condolences to his family.

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zephyr 1 year, 3 months ago

Travis, look what you cause...

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Honestman 1 year, 3 months ago

What a stupid and ignorant comment. Dr. Nottage had clearly been ill for some time. Perry Christie and the PLP should never have allowed him to go through the rigors of a campaign trail in the condition he was in. Shame on them but such was their desperation for seats in the HOA.

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licks2 1 year, 3 months ago

Dr. Was a big dang man. . .maybe if he was not so hungry for power. . .because it sure did not look like it was for the betterment of B&GT people!! He choose to die "in power". . .nobody held him there!

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 3 months ago

How come we talk so bad about these politicians in life ......... then raise them up as gods when they die??? ........... I wonder what Myles Munroe said to BJ when he (BJ) crossed Jordan????

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banker 1 year, 3 months ago

I wonder what Myles Munroe said to BJ when he (BJ) crossed Jordan????

No air conditioning here either.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 3 months ago

Dr Nottage did not perform well as Minister of National Security, but as I said to a friend last week, I have never heard his name mixed up with any scandal unlike some "other" people. These politicians at the end of the day are people, for me what I perceive of their character, irrespective of performance, will determine how I reflect on them. As far as I know Dr Nottage was a good man, until someone tells me different that's what I will believe. I'm not sure why he ran this last time, I suspect he knew his time was short, between him and God.

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licks2 1 year, 3 months ago

I must agree that I did not hear of his name mixed up in corruptions. . .but he saw the same crap we saw. . .he knew. . .he sat around the table with those shysters. . .and was greedy to go back there instead of stand up for the people!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 3 months ago

Oh no. Condolences to the family.

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EasternGate 1 year, 3 months ago

Agree with you sheeprunner12. Death does not make you a better person..it just give you a permanent position. When you are a senior public official, the public has a right to know some things. Like: cause of death; if the government paying for the medical intervention, probably in access of 100,000.00

Any one knew what was the cause of death of Sir Clement Maynard?

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CatIslandBoy 1 year, 3 months ago

My condolences go out to the Nottage family, including those who worked with him in his practice. While I had very little respect for Mr. Nottage's politics, I do consider him a Bahamian patriot. May God have mercy on his soul.

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EasternGate 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, big break down state funeral, crocodile tears and insincere platitudes

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 year, 3 months ago

My condolences to the family.
Again, I caution readers with their comments here. I'm doubtful anyone here can speak about his family life and no one here can speak to his relationship with God leading up to his passing. Rom 14: 4 "Who are you to judge another’s servant?"
I'm grateful to God that I still have life so that I can work on being a better human being because I also have many things to work on. But honestly, there's a time and place for everything. Family members, I do pray your strength during this difficult time.

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SP 1 year, 3 months ago

B.J. Nottage was a nice guy that got caught up with the wrong crowd. He should never have abandoned his party and joined Pillage Loot Plunder!

Heartfelt condolences to the family.

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BahamasForBahamians 1 year, 3 months ago

Just incase politics started for you in the 2000's Dr. Bernard Nottage was a PLP before forming the CDR.

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SP 1 year, 3 months ago

I know that, thanks. B.J. and I was personal friends for several decades. He was a good person overall but always yearned for political affluence. Unfortunately, he got entangled with Christie's pirates which now sully's him.

The PLP ideals B.J. believed in were long, long, long gone by the time he attained the position to meaningfully contribute to our country.

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Sickened 1 year, 3 months ago

I'll keep quiet on this one lest my unemotional remarks be removed.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 3 months ago

Me too.....and I probably knew more about him and his business affairs than most of those expressing their sentiments here. There's a right time and place for everything.

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banker 1 year, 3 months ago

Cause of death?

71 is fairly young in this day and age.

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realfreethinker 1 year, 3 months ago

Probably as a result of those strokes he had. I am still today puzzled as to why they allowed an ill man to run in the last election. They should have realized he was very ill at his final rally,but did nothing.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 3 months ago

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful through the mercy of God rest in peace. Death will come to all sooner or later. God choose to bless him with his three score and ten. many on this site may not be so blessed. He is now in God's hands. a just and merciful God

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Reality_Check 1 year, 3 months ago

When all is said and done, it will be remembered that this man allowed Crooked Christie to quite literally ride him right into the ground.

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banker 1 year, 3 months ago

Ping and his Pingdomites slandered and rode him into the ground as well. The smear campaign was so intense, that he went and formed the CDR party. Why he crawled back, I will never understand.

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TalRussell 1 year, 3 months ago

Comrade Is this all a man's does deserves after his 71 years on this earthly rock?
Dr. BJ's time to leave for another homeland is irrevocable. It is final. But there may still be some kinds 12-steps sensitivity program hope to persuade some you bloggers that you can do better at respecting the just dearly departed and the loved ones and friends they left behind. Many of Comrade Dr. BJ's family, friends and fellow citizens know the good man's BJ was by the time he stepped across the no more suffering, no more pain border to his new homeland.
Let us pray the same petty loose lips negative things you post will be not be said about you when your end-time does come a knocking? I myself will not speak evil of you. There is a time and a place for everything and now is not that time and this hereto Tribne blog page is not the place.
Amen!!

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banker 1 year, 3 months ago

Someday, you too may recieve the gift of enlightenment, and experience the occhiolism that will unclog the narrow corridors of the neural nets in your brain pan. Bless you. Hope that you get more than the three score and ten.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 3 months ago

BJ the person may have been a "good person" .......... but he had political aspirations in the PLP that were never realized because of their internal personality cannibalism .......... Then he created a great reform concept in the CDR (much better than the DNA) ........ But he returned to the PLP (Vomit 2.0) and he lost a lot of political credibility .......... He never regained his PLP status and he became a pariah as the MONS ................he died a sick, tired and broken politician ............ The PLP should be ashamed of allowing Perry to make BJ carry a Sisyphian load in MONS

That is what should be said at his State funeral

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ashley14 1 year, 3 months ago

Sincere condolences and prayers to the family.!

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Reality_Check 1 year, 3 months ago

Amazing that for all of his years in active politics, no one can identify in their 'accolades' anything he accomplished as a politician for the betterment of the Bahamian people....no signature piece of legislation sponsored by him or cause passionately promoted by him as a cabinet minister for the well being of the people....nadda....almost surreal.

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banker 1 year, 3 months ago

He died with a body guard at his bedside. It's kind of weird, but does that count as an achievement?

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 3 months ago

Men die every day, and among the only accolades they get are, great mentor, great friend, great father, great husband, hard worker. Those are enough.

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Reality_Check 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes, but greater expectations naturally exist for elected officials who are given the honour and privilege of doing the greater public good. It just comes with the turf of elected office and should naturally apply to all those who aspire to it.....especially in the case of career active politicians. But clearly many voters in certain constituencies have not seen it that way, until recently.

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licks2 1 year, 3 months ago

Condolence to the Nottage family for the passing of the patriot of their home!

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