While reflecting on the long and eventful life of Dr. Bernard Nottage, one must inevitably do so in snapshots of key events that has shaped the destiny of The Bahamas.  

Dr. Bernard Nottage, a former President of the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA’s), died on Thursday in a Florida hospital. He was aged 71.

Dr. Hon Bernard J. Nottage has exited stage left, ending a career in distinguished career in medicine and politics that is the envy of many. He has been a gynecologist to many for decades and developed a reputation of professionalism that followed him to the very end.

His parent imbued in him the qualities of discipline and hand work which he carried with him through his life. They helped him to develop to the fullest potential his athletic and intellectual gifts. Can we imagine a Bahamian, in that era, being accepted and graduating from Aberdeen University, one of the world’s oldest and prestigious universities, to study medicine?

Dr. Bernard Nottage was elected as President of the Central American and Caribbean Athletic Confederation (CACAC)in the year 1982.

In a climate where many do not respect politicians, Nottage was untouchable! He earned the respect of all. A longtime president of the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations, Nottage also represented The Bahamas on the track at the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games and the 1967 Pan American Games, among others.

In the minutes and hours of his death, tributes has been pouring in for the former athlete; citizens and fellow politicians are also showing their support.

A former President of the BAAA’s Mike Sands, while paying a special tribute to the former athlete, described him as a friend, mentor whose footstep will be a big shoe to fill.

When Sands learnt of Dr. Nottage’s passing, he said he was very much saddened. “It was with great sadness that I have this morning learned about Nottage’s death. Through all the times I have known him, he was a true professional, dedicated and above all, a great man.

“This is a big loss to the Bahamas Nation and to me in particular. I see him as a friend and a mentor from the area of track and field for many years,” Sands said in a statement.

Flashing back on days gone by, Sands further stated that he was suspended at least three or four times during his days in the game as there was little tolerance for bad habits then.  Sands while recounting part of the legendary athlete’s life achievements stated that “most people would not know but he was one of the persons responsible for the “One Country - One Vote” whose basis was that all citizens are equal. That initiative will be one of his missed legacies,” says the solemn Sands.

“BJ as he was fondly called, left a powerful and enviable legacy for all politicians to emulate. Unlike most leaders, he was dedicated, principled and a selfless leader. BJ was a man of the people and a man of integrity who always put the national interest of The Bahamas and the interest of developing countries first. 

According to the tributes pouring in, it is clear Dr. Nottage was a man of wisdom and according to Sands at times he himself may not have understood the significance of Dr. Nottage’s messages at the time but certainly now, he is appreciating the contribution he has made in his life.

While extending his deep condolences to the Nottage family and the entire BAAA’s family, Sands said he believes history will absolve BJ. “Dr. Nottage will be sadly missed and he prays that “Dr. Nottage’s gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

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