BahamasCoatofArmsDuring my visit to the Republic of Haiti for a CARICOM meeting, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Durward Knowles, a Bahamian son and patriot, a noted businessman and sportsman.  He possessed an enthusiastic and exuberant spirit, and the joy of living.

Sir Durward was a philanthropist and a man of tremendous generosity and compassion, who exemplified the spirit of volunteerism and community service.  Along, with several others he helped to found the One Bahamas Foundation.

Last year the country was able to pay fitting tribute when Sir Durward achieved another milestone when he became a centenarian.

I fondly remember the commemoration of this achievement, when Queen’s College, his alma mater, unveiled a monument in his honor and the launch of the Sir Durward Knowles Centenary Leadership Fund.

I noted at the commemoration that Sir Durward’s life reminded us of the importance of character, and that through his extraordinary service and philanthropy, Sir Durward has taught us of the need not just to make a living, but to make a life worth living.

He used his talents and privilege to help others, including the more vulnerable in our society.  He contributed significantly to education, civil society and athletics.

He also showed a commitment to equality and justice, demonstrating the nobility and largeness of spirit to confront certain historic wrongs in our country, which some others chose to silently ignore at best.”

As the title of his biography stated, he was, Driven by the Stars.  His Olympic bronze medal and his 1964 gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics exemplified his athletic and competitive spirit.

For many years Sir Durward has been involved with the disabilities community, helping those with physical and mental disabilities.

This involvement with the disability community demonstrated a core value of Sir Durward.  This value is the dignity of all, regardless of any circumstance of birth or life, a belief that was demonstrated in his love of country, service and those he encountered in all walks of life.

On my own behalf and that of my wife, Patricia, and that of a grateful nation, I extend condolences to Holly, Lady Knowles and to Jill, Charlotte and Randy.