By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER British politician Robert Rowland died after a diving accident near his home in Exuma over the weekend.
The former Brexit Party European Member of Parliament is thought to have drowned after he failed to resurface while spearfishing near Highbourne Cay, Exuma on Saturday.
According to police reports sometime around 1pm, a party of six left New Providence on a 39-foot vessel en route to the Exuma Cays on a fishing excursion.
“While in the area of Highbourne Cay, Exuma around 2.30pm, the vessel anchored and some of the crew went spearfishing,” police said.
“Moments later, crew members became concerned when one of the males did not resurface. A diver went overboard in search of their colleague and found him lying on the seabed. He was brought to the surface; however, he was unresponsive”.
Police said even though the crew immediately made their way to Norman’s Cay to charter a plane, their efforts to do so proved unsuccessful. They said the party eventually returned to the capital where they were met by medical personnel who examined the victim and pronounced him dead.
Officials are awaiting an autopsy report to determine the exact cause of death. Investigations into the matter are continuing.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, confirmed Rowland’s death and expressed his condolences to the loved ones the former politician left behind.
“It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of Robert Rowland, after a diving accident near his home in The Bahamas,” he stated.
“Following a successful career in the city, Robert was an enthusiastic Brexit Party MEP and larger than life character. He leaves a wife, Lisa Marie, and four children. On behalf of myself, and all those who were involved with the Brexit Party, I extend our sincerest condolences to his family.”
David Bull, another former Brexit Party MEP, also told the Daily Express he was “absolutely devastated” after hearing the news of Mr Rowland’s death.
“Robert was the kindest, most gentle, thoughtful friend,” he told the British publication.
“He was deliciously funny, dry, intelligent, erudite and compassionate. He was a huge support to me in the European Parliament and when I was campaigning in the general election. He was a true team player. We started as colleagues and ended up as the closest of friends.”
Rowland, 54, served as a Brexit Party member of the European Parliament for South East England from 2019 until the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union in 2020. He was also a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and served as a substitute on the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy.
He leaves behind his wife, Lisa Marie Rowland, along with three sons and a daughter.