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A life fully lived

Nottage laid to rest
  • Sasha Holmes, Brian Nottage and Patrick Carey, children of the late Dr. Bernard Nottage, wept as they laid roses on his coffin at Lakeview Cemetery yesterday. Nottage was buried directly following an official funeral at St. Agnes Anglican Church. Photo: Ahvia J. Campbell

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Jul 15, 2017

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As he reflected on his most memorable conversation with his father, Brian Nottage’s powerful voice cracked for the first time since he took the podium that stood a few feet higher than the hundreds who gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Dr. Bernard J. Nottage when he was funeralized at St. Agnes Anglican Church yesterday afternoon.

Brian took the quiet and sorrowful congregation, most of whom were clad in black and gray, back to the night of the May 10 general election.

As he reflected on the events of that jittery Wednesday night, Brian said Nottage spent much of that night focused on him and his family despite the happenings of that historical night.

“Don’t cry for me,” Brian said as he repeated his father’s request.

The words, though simple, cut many. Deep sighs abound. Heads hung low. Eyes closed shut briefly.

“I’ve lived a full life,” the senior Nottage assured the night he lost his seat.

“I’ve done everything that I’ve ever wanted to do.

“Move on, son. Move on.”

It was then that the confident man who spoke so highly of his father just seconds before, began to break down.

With his siblings, Patrick Carey and Sasha Holmes, by his side, the 42-year-old man wept.

He began to sing some of the words to the popular Frank Sinatra song “My Way” that he said reminded him of his father, mentor and friend who insisted to his family and friends in the weeks before his departure that he had “lived a full life”.

Joining in with Brian as he said his final adieu to his father in song, were his siblings, extended family, and most of the emotional congregation.

Brian cried harder.

“I love you, dad,” he said, sniffling, his face covered in tears.

“Rest on with God.

“You deserve everything He has for you.

“I know that you will watch over our family.

“Be the everlasting guardian angel in our lives.

“We love you and we will never, I repeat, never forget you.”

A passionate sermon was given by Father I Ranfurly Brown who reminded those in the congregation to be faithful to God and to live their lives for Christ while doing the things they love.

A church full of people thankful for the former politician and obstetrician nodded their heads in agreement as they listened to Brown’s words.

Nottage’s home going service was packed with those hoping to say goodbye to an “incredible leader, a devoted nationalist, a remarkable man and an irreplaceable friend.”


Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis was among those who extended condolences “on behalf of a grateful nation”.

“What he wanted was to make a bigger contribution than what he had done on the field, in the classroom, in the laboratory and in the delivery room,” Minnis said.

“He was a man of principles who wasn’t afraid to stand up and defend those things he believed.

“He also proved to be a pragmatic politician who knew when to hold them and when to fold them.”

He said, “As young men on a mission in the 70s, we all dreamed of a better Bahamas and a better world.

“B.J. fought a good fight. He endured and he never gave up.

“Our greatest tribute to him is to pick up the baton and continue the great endeavor of passing on the next generation a better country.”

In his remarks, former Prime Minister Perry Christie sought to “capture the experience of a life fully-lived, and articulate through grief and love, the magnificence of a great Bahamian”.

He reminisced on memories he shared with a man who was his friend and colleague for more than 60 years.

In his solemn tribute, he was more collected than he was earlier this week when he viewed Nottage’s body for the first time at Progressive Liberal Party headquarters.

He quoted a line from William Shakespeare that he thought perfectly captured Nottage’s essence.

“His life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him, that nature might stand up and say to all the world, this was a man,” Christie quoted.

He added, ”The national sacrifice he gave was not merely in the discharge of his public office, but in battling the health challenges which plagued him in recent years.

“He chose not to share these with me or other colleagues, even though I could see from time to time that he was laboring

“Given our relationship, I knew that if he wanted me to know, when he wanted me to know, he would tell me.

“The person who was at his side throughout, was B.J.’s wife, Portia. He depended on her far more than the public realized.

“She was the wind beneath his wings, a constant source of support and solace for him. She shared B.J.'s suffering through his illness and in so doing made his burden so much more bearable.”

As he spoke, the widow, clad in light lavender, tried to crack a smile.

“...History would look back and say this was a man, but for B.J., there was more,” Christie said.

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