Bahamas: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Manifestos, newsletters and pamphlets issued by the Free National Movement (Bahamas), the Bahamas Federation of Labour/Labour Party, the Progressive Liberal Party (Bahamas), the United Bahamian Party, and the Vanguard Nationalist and Socialist Party of the Bahamas.

Administrative / Biographical History

From the 1950s political power in the Bahamas had been contested between the white dominated United Bahamian Party and the Progressive Liberal Party, which represented the interests of the emerging black middle class. The latter gained control of government in 1967 and guided the country to independence by 1973. Critics alleged that the transfer of political power had made little difference to the lives of ordinary Bahamians, and that governments continued to prioritise foreign capital investment and the promotion of the Bahamas as a tax haven to the detriment of spending on social welfare or any attempt at wealth redistribution. Furthermore, by the time long-term PLP leader Lynden O. Pindling was defeated at the polls in 1992 he was facing charges of corruption and of supporting drug trafficking. The items here deal with all these inter-related issues, with the bulk of the material devoted to the pre-independence elections of the 1960s during which the transition to black-led governments occurred.


Alphabetically by party, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies


The Political Archives Project was a 2.5 year project to catalogue political archive material held in the libraries of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas to the University and present it as a cohesive virtual collection. The project was successfully completed in July 2005. Descriptions of all the documents may be found by searching the library catalogue at, or via the Political Archives website:

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The ICS political parties collection was begun in 1960-1961, with special emphasis being placed on primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos. Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.