The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, along with members of the Ministry’s Senior Executive Management Team and Staff, with deepest sadness, mark the passing of a great Bahamian and global legend, Sir Sidney L. Poitier.
From humble beginnings on Cat Island, Sidney Poitier, a proud young Bahamian embarked on a remarkable life journey on which he blazed trails, shattered glass ceilings and made a resounding global impact.
Grounded in an ethos of discipline and excellence, in 1964, Sir Sidney’s achieved the distinction of being the first black actor to be awarded an Oscar for best actor, for his lead role in the film Lilies of the Field. Sir Sidney went on to enjoy a brilliant acting career with numerous box office successes including iconic films such as The Heat Of The Night; To Sir, With Love; and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
To all his fields of endeavour — acting, film directing, activism, diplomacy, philanthropy — Sir Sidney brought a singularly outstanding level of professionalism, which earned him the highest civic awards, both in the Commonwealth of Nations (Knight of the British Empire – KBE in 1974), as a Bahamian citizen, and in the United States (the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009).
On a global scale, Sir Sidney embodied greatness. Through his cinematic roles, he challenged stereotypes, modelled the highest attributes of human dignity and universally typified the individual who, through sheer human resolve and determination, overcomes challenges imposed by the larger society.
Sir Sidney, by the measure of his bearing, belonged to the world. Yet, at his most authentic self, Sir Sidney was a Bahamian, and of that fact, the People of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas will be eternally most proud.
We convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Sir Sidney, his wife, Joanna Shimkus and children: Beverly Poitier-Henderson, Pamela Poitier, Sherri Poitier, Gina Poitier-Gouraige, Anika Poitier, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier-Heartsong.
Earth Has No Sorrow that Heaven Cannot Heal.
Our prayers and thoughts are with the bereaved family of Sir Sidney.