Bahamas to get first woman GG

Dame Dr. Ivy Dumont, 71, will be appointed the first Bahamian woman Acting Governor General, following farewell ceremonies for Governor General Sir Orville Turnquest in downtown Nassau today.


The Cabinet Office confirmed Monday that Dame Ivy will be sworn in as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (Acting), and that the swearing-in ceremony will be held in Parliament Square at 10:30 a.m. following a farewell ceremony for Sir Orville.

Dame Ivy told The Guardian on Monday that the appointment "wouldn't be something that I would not accept."

Dame Ivy has been sworn in on two occasions to serve as Deputy to the Governor General, as recently as last week, ending Saturday.

Just prior to her retirement as Minister of Education, Youth & Sports on Jan. 30, Dame Ivy said she was looking forward to her retirement from the public service.

Sir Orville, 72, would have completed more than six years as the nation's fifth Bahamian-born Governor General, having been sworn in office on Jan. 3. 1995.

He spent his last days privately dining his family at the historic Government House, and farewell ceremonies with schools and the press.

Recognized as the most celebrated Governor General in Bahamian history, Sir Orville transformed that post, welcoming a wide cross section of persons to Government House, which he often referred to as "The People's House." The patron of the One Bahamas celebrations, Sir Orville took the message of unity to all Family Islands, visiting all schools, a personal goal he undertook.

Sir Orville was to retire on Oct. 31 but his date was pushed back to Nov. 13 to accommodate a formal leave of Queen Elizabeth II in a farewell audience at Buckingham Palace.

Sir Orville was born July 19, 1929, to Robert and Gwendolyn Turnquest, both deceased. He is married to the former Edith Louise Thompson, granddaughter of Albertha Brown, a noted straw vendor. The couple's children include attorney Caryl Lashley, chartered accountant Michelle Fields, and former banking officer Tommy Turnquest, the Minister of Tourism and FNM Leader-designate.

Sir Orville is retiring to pave the way for his son to become prime minister, should the FNM become the next government in the upcoming general elections.

An attorney, Sir Orville articled as a law student in the chambers of the A.F. Adderley, and was called to The Bahamas Bar in June 1953. He pursued further studies at the University of London in 1957, where he obtained an Honours LLB degree, and was also admitted as a member of Lincoln's Inn, London.

He was first appointed Cabinet Minister in August, 1992, following the FNM landslide victory at the polls over the Progressive Liberal Party, which had ruled for more than 25 years. Sir Orville served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and as the Member of Parliament for Montagu before he resigned from front-line politics in November, 1994.

And, upon his appointment, Sir Orville was awarded the honour of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St., Michael and St. George by the Queen.

Dame Ivy served eight years as a Cabinet Minister in the Free National Movement administration, first appointed on Aug. 24, 1992 as Minister of Health and Environment, and in 1997 she was placed in charge of the Ministry of Education and Youth.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham revered her as "Always a source of good counsel, advice and guidance, Dame Ivy never shied away from disagreement. She offered her critiques freely, making them all the more valuable."

Following the FNM victory at the polls over the Progressive Liberal Party in 1992, Dame Ivy was one of three females appointed to the Cabinet.

Born on October 2, 1930, at Rose's Long Island, Dame Ivy received her early education at Roses' and Buckley's, Long Island.

She attended the Government High School in New Providence from 1942 to 1948, furthering her education by attending a number of well-accredited institutions of higher learning. She achieved high standards in education and also basic accounting and personnel administration.

A founding member and Secretary-General of The Bahamas Union of Teachers, Dame Ivy also served in the Ministry of Education and Culture between 1948 and 1975 as a student-teacher, classroom teacher, head teacher, education officer and deputy director of education.

She served as deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Utilities from 1975 to 1978. In 1978, she joined Roywest Trust Corporation (Bahamas) Limited/Nat West International Trust Holdings Limited, and held the positions of training officer; assistant manager, personnel manager, and manager of group relations.

Dame Ivy also served as secretary-general of the FNM. Following the FNM victory in the August 19, 1992 general elections, she was appointed to the Senate and sworn in as Minister of Health and Environment.

On January 9, 1995, she was appointed Minister of Education and Training, and was re-appointed to that post on March 18, 1997 after the FNM's second consecutive victory in the March 14 general elections.

Her religious and other civic duties include membership in Emmanuel Gospel Chapel, Sisters Fellowship of The Assemblies of Brethren in The Bahamas, Women's Aglow Fellowship, the Bahamas Humane Society and the American Management Association.

Dame Ivy is also a Bible-education facilitator, and an accomplished seamstress with gardening as a hobby.

She is married to Reginald Dean Dumont, a retired police officer and prices control inspector. They have two children, Cheddi and Edda.

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