The body of Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Charles Maynard was flown from Abaco to New Providence yesterday, several hours after he collapsed and died during a campaigning trip on that island. Maynard's death shocked family, friends and colleagues, many of whom called it a tragic loss. Maynard, who was described as "a rising political leader and public servant", was 42. According to an FNM statement, Maynard was riding along with FNM Secretary General Michael Foulkes in the Blackwood area around 12:30 a.m. when he fell ill and collapsed.
"Emergency efforts to revive Mr. Maynard under the verbal direction and instructions from the party leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, who was elsewhere on the island, were unsuccessful," the statement said. "Charles Maynard was pronounced dead by medical personnel on the island at or about 1:30 a.m." The Nassau Guardian understands that Maynard's father Andrew 'Dud' Maynard and cousin Senator Allyson Maynard-Gibson traveled to Abaco yesterday. Maynard was a part of the FNM team campaigning in North Abaco as the party prepares for a by-election which must be called after the resignation of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham becomes effective August 31.
Maynard, the previous minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, was first elected to office in 2007 in the Golden Isles constituency. He was defeated on May 7, 2012. "In the House of Assembly and in the discharge of his Cabinet responsibilities, Charles Maynard established himself as a charismatic, passionate, committed and rising political star who never failed to rise to the defense of his party, ministry or colleagues," the FNM statement said. "He was rapidly promoted to full ministerial status as the portfolio Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture in late 2009, and was instrumental in the development and implementation of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Track & Field Stadium, which opened in early 2012."
On the recent general election campaign trail, Maynard picked up the nickname the "human lie detector" for revealing what he said were the lies of political opponents. His speeches often excited rally-goers. Ingraham said Maynard was a fine Bahamian man, committed to being a part of the solution to the many challenges facing the country. "Charlie brought enthusiasm, energy and passion to all his undertakings in both the private and public sectors," the former prime minister said. "He had a biting wit and an infectious laugh which endeared him to all of us." Ingraham added: "Charlie had a wonderful future; he had so much more to contribute to our party and to our country. He will be difficult to replace and will be terribly missed."
Prime Minister Perry Christie offered condolences to the Maynard family on behalf of the government. He said the news was both sad and shocking. "Whenever a young person who is involved in public life dies, it's very shocking. Maynard had just begun his public life in a real way," Christie said. "I deeply regret that someone who is so young, just over 40 years of age, would have died in such tragic circumstances." Christie said Maynard was very active in politics and had "great promise". Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said Maynard's contributions to the country will be remembered. "I think Charles' days counted," Davis said.
"You may say it was too soon for him to have gone, but I think what he did in his short time on earth counted. That makes the moment and occasion even more sad." The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) said Maynard's untimely death stunned the party. "In the short time that the Bahamian public has had to become acquainted with 'Charlie', as he is affectionately known to many, he has left an indelible mark on all of us," the DNA statement said. "Whether it was as a member of the Progressive Liberal Party, Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Reform, a Member of Parliament for the Free National Movement or Chairman of the Free National Movement, Charlie was always a passionate advocate and fighter for a more free and democratic Bahamas.
"With his passing, The Bahamas has lost a bright political mind, a vibrant, charismatic, young leader, and a great man who was filled with courage and promise. It is very appropriate to say that he is gone too soon," the statement added. The Bahamas Christian Council also sent a statement offering condolences. "Mr. Maynard was well loved and respected by the entire community and he served his family and our country well," the statement said. "He was a rising star in politics in The Bahamas. Mr. Maynard was considered one of the new generation of leaders for The Bahamas. The Bahamas has lost a great son. He had so much to offer." John Dinkelman, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires, extended condolences on behalf of the United States Mission in The Bahamas.
"Mr. Maynard's untimely passing will stand as a great loss due to his devotion to the service of others," Dinkelman said. "Through his steadfast support to the development of youth, his dedication to the athletic community, and his commitment to sharing The Bahamas' rich cultural heritage, Mr. Maynard touched the lives of many throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
He will be missed and will continue to be an inspiration for years to come." Speaking on behalf of the Maynard family, Senator Maynard Gibson thanked all those who expressed condolences. She said Maynard will be dearly missed. Maynard is survived by his wife Zelena, his three daughters, his parents Andrew "Dud" Maynard and Isadora Maynard, and many other family members and friends.
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