On this day in Caribbean history, January 10, 1967, in Assembly elections the Progressive Liberal Party led by Lynden Pindling and the ruling United Bahamian Party led by Sir Roland Symonette both won 18 seats. There was one Labour MP, Randol Fawkes, who decided to side with the PLP, enabling majority rule for the first time in Bahamian history.
Lynden Pindling became the first black Premier of the Bahamas, becoming Prime Minister in 1969.
Along with the emancipation from slavery in 1836 and independence in 1973, the achievement of Majority Rule is a seen as one of the most important events in the history of the Bahamas.
The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718 as a result of the British trying to suppress piracy in the region. Following the American war of independence, many British loyalists moved to the Bahamas, bolstering its British connections.
Moves toward independence didn’t start until after the end of the second world war, with local political parties only forming in the 1950’s. A new constitution giving more local autonomy came into effect in 1964.
To mark this key event, Majority Rule Day became a public holiday in 2014. The day is marked by a parade in downtown Freeport. In 2015, the celebrations included honouring 70 individuals who played a key role in bringing Majority Rule to the island.