The Right Honourable Perry Gladstone Christie, PC, MP
Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Perry Gladstone Christie (born 21 August 1943), is a Bahamian politician who has served as Prime Minister of the Bahamas since May 2012; previously he was Prime Minister from 2002 to 2007.
Early life and education
Perry Gladstone Christie was born on 21 August 1943 to Mr. Gladstone L. Christie and Mrs. Naomi Christie (née Allen) in the City of Nassau on the Island of New Providence. Perry grew up in the Central District of New Providence, in an area commonly referred to as "the Valley". He attended The Government High School, but was expelled. His expulsion was a turning point in his life as he used the experience to commit himself to the pursuit of academic excellence and personal achievement. After his expulsion, he attended Eastern Senior School under the direct tutelage of Donald W. Davis and the Nassau Evening Institute. Upon completion of his studies, Perry Christie traveled to London to read for an LL. B. Degree.
Perry Christie was also a star athlete. His skills developed when he was a member of the Pioneers Sports Club. He represented The Bahamas at the 1960 West Indies Federation Games in Kingston, Jamaica and at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Kingston in 1962, where he won a bronze medal in the triple jump.
Perry Christie received his LL. B. Degree (Hons.) in 1969 from the University Tutorial College, London, England and Birmingham University in 1969. He participated in many mooting competitions whilst in the United Kingdom and won several awards. He was called to the Bar of England & Wales (Inner Temple), in 1969 and immediately following his call in England, returned to Nassau to be called to The Bahamas Bar.
After the completion of his pupilage with McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes, Perry Christie established the law firm of Christie, Ingraham & Company. Perry Christie became renown for his mooting and public speaking skills and soon realized that such skills would be an asset to him in the realm of politics.
Perry Christie joined the Progressive Liberal Party in the late 1960s. He became an active member of the National Committee for Positive Action (NCPA), which was an informal caucus of young black activists, including Eugene Newry, Jeffrey Thompson, Loftus Roker, Warren Levarity, Clement Maynard, Cecil Wallace-Whitfield and Arthur Foulkes.
Christie was also a founding member of Unicol, which was later renamed Unicomm, and which was used as a forum to debate national and international issues of relevance to The Bahamas and young Bahamians. Other notable members of Unicomm, included Bernard Nottage, Franklyn Wilson and Sean McWeeney, all of whom became intimately involved in the Progressive Liberal Party.
Christie is also a founding member of the Valley Boys Junkanoo Group.
Christie married Bernadette Joan Hanna on 3 August 1974 and three months later, in November 1974 he was appointed to the Senate by the late Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden Pindling. Perry Christie is believed to have been the youngest Bahamian ever appointed to the Senate and he served in that capacity until June 1977.
In January 1977 he was appointed Chairman of the Gaming Board, which regulates casinos in The Bahamas and also received the PLP's nomination for the Centreville constituency in the 1977 general election. The 1977 general election was held on 19 July and Perry Christie successfully contested the Centreville constituency seat by defeating Orville Turnquest (later Sir Orville Turnquest, The Bahamas' fifth post-independence Governor General) of the BDP. The following day, Sir Lynden Pindling appointed Christie to his Cabinet with responsibility for the Ministry of Health and National Insurance. He was 34 years of age.
During the June, 1982, general election, he was re-elected Member of Parliament for Centreville, and was once again appointed by Sir Lynden Pindling to serve as a Cabinet Minister, but as Minister of Tourism. A dynamic Minister, Christie moved tourism in The Bahamas to new heights.
However, on the 8 October 1984, Perry Christie was dismissed from the Cabinet, and during the 1987 general election ran as an independent candidate. He retained his seat in the Centreville constituency and three years later - in March, 1990 - he returned to the fold of the Progressive Liberal Party, and was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Industry by Prime Minister Pindling. Christie's ministerial responsibilities included the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry; mining, geological surveys, petroleum, fuel, oils and petrochemicals, industries encouragement, manufacturing, relations with The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, relations with The Bahamas National Trust, Andros reef and blue holes, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Co-operatives.
In January, 1993, following the PLP's defeat in the August 1992, general election, Christie retained his seat in the Centreville Constituency and was elected Co-deputy leader of the PLP with responsibility for party activities outside parliament.
On the 14 March 1997, Perry Christie was re-elected to the House of Assembly in the 1997 General Election and the following month was elected leader of the PLP at a special convention of the PLP, thus succeeding the late Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden Pindling, MP, who had led the PLP since 1956. Perry Christie defeated Bernard J. Nottage and Philip C. Galanis, both MPs at the time, in the poll for party leader.
Christie was appointed Leader of the Opposition by the Governor-General on 7 April 1997 and began the task of preparing the PLP for the next general election.
On the 2 May 2002, Christie led the Progressive Liberal Party into the 2002 General Elections. The PLP won 29 of the 40 House of Assembly seats that were at stake, and the following day, Christie was sworn-in as the third Prime Minister of an independent Bahamas.
Christie is married to Bernadette Joan Hanna on (3 August 1974).