“A right delayed is a right denied.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The Bahamas Independence Conference convened 12 days before Christmas 1972 at the red Dutch brick Marlborough House in central London, which once served as a royal residence, eventually housing the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation.
Leading the Bahamian delegations were Premier Sir Lynden Pindling (PLP) and Leader of the Opposition Sir Kendal Isaacs (FNM). The central order of business was the independence constitution.
Marlborough House, adorned with paintings, murals, tapestries and sculptures symbolizing the apogee of British imperial and colonial rule was now a museum of sorts where the nadir of empire was unfolding with a succession of colonies holding independence talks in the stately mansion.
There was, at the conference, another irony; a tragic one: Ten years after women’s suffrage and at the birth of a new constitution committed to equality, the PLP, the party which helped usher in majority rule, opposed full equality for Bahamian women in terms of passing on a right of automatic citizenship to children born outside The Bahamas of a non-Bahamian husband.