The Most Honourable Sir Clifford Darling, ON, GCVO
Former Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
His Excellency Sir Clifford Darling was the fourth Bahamian-born Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Early life and education
Darling, who was born in Acklins on 6 February 1922.
Sir Clifford was sworn in at Government House on 2 January 1992, by Chief Justice Joaquim Gonsalves-Sabola, succeeding His Excellency Sir Henry Taylor, Kt, JP, who retired on 1 January 1992.
Sir Clifford had served as Speaker of the House of Assembly from 1977 until 13 November 1991, when he resigned.
A former Progressive Liberal Party Member of Parliament for Englerston, Sir Clifford was born on 6 February 1922, at Acklins Island to Charles and Aremilia Darling. He attended the Acklins Public School and public schools in New Providence.
The former taxicab driver served as general secretary of The Bahamas Taxicab union for eight years and as president for ten.
In the early 1950s Sir Clifford bargained with hotels for better treatment for taxi drivers. The hotels had their own buses to transport visitors to and from the new Nassau International Airport and other destinations. As a result, many taxi drivers had no passengers, except residents to take from the airport.
The problem reached a boiling point November 1957, when the cab union, with Sir Clifford as President, blockaded and closed the airport. A general strike followed in January 1958. With Sir Clifford’s help, an agreement among hotels, tour services and taxicab operators was reached.
Sir Clifford was an early member of the PLP. He served as a senator from January 1964 to January 1967, when, in a general election, he was elected to the House of Assembly for the Englerston constituency. He served from January 1967 to October 1969, when he was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister of State.
In November 1971, he was named Minister of Labour and National Insurance. He was responsible for the introduction of the National Insurance programme on 7 October 1974. Sir Clifford was re-elected to the House for the Englerston constituency in the 1977 general election and was elected Speaker of the House. He was also knighted by the Queen the same year.
In the general elections of 1982 and 1987 Sir Clifford was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for the Englerston constituency and re-elected as Speaker. He was a Stalwart Councillor, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a member of the Progressive Liberal Party.
He was a member of Zion Baptist Church, of the Masonic Prince Hall Lodge and of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks in the World.
Honours and awards
In 2018, he was awarded the Order of the Nation (ON).
Sir Clifford Darling died at the Princess Margaret Hospital on 27 December 2011 at the age of 89. Sir Clifford is survived by his second wife, Lady Ingrid Darling (nee Smith), and seven children, Clifford Darling Jr., Andrea Darling-Thompson, Sharlene Hanna, Theresa McPhee, Rushena Darling, Lakreisha Darling and Charles Darling.