Bradley Bernard Emmanuel Roberts, former Bain and Grants Town Member of Parliament and Chairman Emeritus of the Progressive Liberal Party, died on Thursday afternoon.
He was 74 years old.
The cause of Roberts’ sudden and untimely death is not known.
“We don’t know and I don’t want to speculate, but there will be an autopsy,” said Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, who spoke to Eyewitness News yesterday outside of Roberts’ home off Skyline Drive.
“What I do know is that he went on his usual walk this morning, he had his usual coffee at Starbucks and he came home. I think when he was in the shower his wife found him slumped in the shower.”
Davis said he received the news of Roberts’ death yesterday while he was eating lunch
“I received a call that Mr. Roberts had fallen out and may have passed. I came up as quickly as I could [to his home] to discover that this was in fact true. He has had a long life of contributing to our society, particularly to those in the inner city,” Davis said.
Sometime after 4:00 p.m. yesterday, a Bethel Brothers hearse was seen leaving the driveway of Roberts’ home, while the piercing cries of a woman could be heard in the background.
The Opposition leader said the PLP has lost a giant of a man who was also an iconic figure in the community.
“The Chairman Emeritus of the Progressive Liberal Party ‘Big bad Brad’ is now taking his rest from the toils and labours of this earth,” Davis said. He added that Roberts had always been a friend to the downtrodden and a strong and mighty voice for those who are oppressed.
“He also came to the fore for the poor and he is going to be sadly missed. We passed by today [at his home] to give our condolences and thanks and appreciation for his life and the service he gave to the Progressive Liberal Party,” Davis said.
The Opposition leader referred to Roberts’ death is “heart wrenching” and said that it was a major loss for the Party. He did state, however, that Roberts would want PLP’s to pick up the mantle that he has left behind.
“He was always an encourager. To me he was a good friend, a mentor, someone who was one of my strong supporters who always gave me good advice and who always was there for me when I needed him.”
Davis recalled that Roberts did not like “wrongdoing” and he was “fiercely protective” of the image and the reputation of the PLP. He said that Roberts was the inventor of the political ‘garbage can’ and would always make revelations about corruption, having obtained important information to back up his claims.
“The garbage bin is still there and I think he has left it for someone to look into and we will see what comes out of it as we move on in our own political lives,” Davis said.
Davis recalled his last encounter with Mr. Roberts was earlier this week via email, and he also spoke to him sometime last week on the telephone. He said he had many fond memories of Roberts, which included his jokes and efforts to keep a smile on the faces of those around him.
“Those who know Bradley, he always shared things though What’s App. He became a fan of the social world and on any given day you would receive many emails and What’s App messages with quips, jokes, words of encouragement, his views of what was going on and advice on what we should and should not be doing to get the country back in the hands of persons who care for the people of this country.”
The Opposition leader said the greatest legacy that Roberts would have left behind is his ability to speak out against all injustices and not being afraid to do so.
“He was a brave man and he displayed that by his courageous taking on of the issues,” Davis said.
The PLP leader said aspiring politicians can learn much from the late Bradley Roberts. These include: patience, taking on issues, not being afraid to speak to issues regardless of the consequences and being a team player.
A statement released last night from PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell outlined that the PLP was enormously grateful for his life of service, the patriotism which he displayed and his love of party.
“Our condolences go out to his family from all of us in the PLP. May he rest in peace,” the statement read.
Free National Movement Chairman Carl Culmer said members of his party are saddened at the sudden passing of a great Bahamian politician and businessman. Culmer described Roberts as a successful businessman who fought vehemently for his party over the years.
Mr. Robert’s first emerged in public life in the 1977 general election as a candidate for the now abolished Shirlea Constituency opposing the late Sir Roland Symonette. He emerged victorious in a by-election following the death of Shadrach Morris the incumbent in the old Grants Town constituency in 1982.
Roberts served as a sitting Member of Parliament from 1982 to 2007. He did not seek re-election in the May 2nd, 2007 General Election, but he still played an active role on the sidelines of the Progressive Liberal Party.
Roberts was Opposition Whip and Leader of Opposition Business in Parliament and he was elected as the PLP ’s National Chairman in 2000. Roberts served as Chairman for two terms, the last of which was from 2009 to 2017. He was elected Chairman Emeritus during the special convention of 28 July 2018.
Roberts served as Chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, the New Providence Port Authority, the Housing Commission, and the Gaming Board of the Bahamas. He has also served as a Director of The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation.
Roberts was born in New Providence on Christmas Day, 1943, to Mrs. Merle Eloise Roberts nee Albury (1920-2007) and Mr. Rupert Anthony Cyril “Tony” Roberts III (1920-1990). He is the great grandson of the late Ernest Lenkard Bowen (1864-1927) MHA, who represented the South in New Providence in the House of Assembly for 14 years (1911-1925).
Roberts attended St. Francis Primary School, St. Augustine’s College, the Eastern Senior School and the Government High School Evening Institute later the College of the Bahamas.
The former MP gained work experience at The Bahamas Telecommunications Company and Caribbean Motors Ltd., before entering the Beverage Industry, where he was a Senior Executive for 37 years.
He has held a directorship of Burns House Ltd., Commonwealth Brewery Ltd., Associated Bahamian Distillers, and Autos Breweries (1979) Ltd., Bethel Robertson & Co. Ltd., Arawak Homes Ltd., Eleuthera Properties Ltd., Sunshine Holdings Ltd., Freeport Oil Company Ltd., In-flight Kitchen Ltd. and a number of other Bahamian Companies.
Roberts also served as Chairman of Sunshine Holdings Company Ltd., President of Burns House Ltd., the Vice-Chairman of General Bahamian Companies Ltd., and Vice-President and Director of Freeport Oil Lid.
Mr. Roberts is a member of the Royal Eagle Lodge and a member and past President of the Rotary Club of West Nassau.
A Roman Catholic, Roberts was married to the former Hartlyn M. Mackey of Eleuthera. They have four children, one of whom is deceased and five grand children. His hobbies included traveling and music. Residence.