Flags across The Bahamas will be flown at half-mast as part of tributes to late actor and civil rights activist Sir Sidney Poitier.
Poitier,94, passed away in the Bahamas earlier today.
Prime Minister Philip Davis led tributes to the Bahamian-American actor.
Davis, like Poitier, came from humble beginnings on Cat Island in central-Bahamas and he reflected on the late actor how rose up from being the son of tomato farmers to a star on the big screen.
“We admire the man, not just because of his colossal achievements, but also because of who he was: his strength of character; his willingness to stand up and be counted; and the way he plotted and navigated his life’s journey,” the prime minister said in a national address.
Former Prime Minister Hubert A Ingraham sent condolences to Poitier’s family and friends.
“I join with all expressing deep sorrow at his passing but most especially in expressing thanks and appreciation for his important contribution to the advancement of Black people the world over,” he said.
“Sydney Poitier was 94 years old, a mighty age. His was a long, productive, and meaningful life that served to expose racial inequalities both in the United States of America and in this country. His support together with that of a number of his contemporary black film actors, played an important role in the struggle for civil rights in America. His Oscar win opened the door through which countless talented black and other minority actors would follow.”
Ingraham thanked Poitier for “breaking with a lifelong commitment not to become involved in official government bureaucracy” to accept his request to serve as the Bahamas’ Ambassador to Japan.
Fellow Bahamian-American and entertainment superstar Lenny Kravitz also paid tribute to Poitier, whom he considered a close friend.
“Your excellence will always be the benchmark. Rest in divine peace, Bahamian King. My love and condolences go out to your beautiful family. Sidney Poitier,” Kravitz said on social media.
Ordinary Bahamians are thanking Poitier for his service to the country.
“We owe you a debt of gratitude for inspiring Black Bahamians to stand up against the colonial power for equal rights and justice,” one man commented.
Another Bahamian wrote: “RIP Sir Poitier. You have shown us that we can be great no matter our start in life. May you continue to guide us now that you are in the arms of our ancestors.”