The Bradley B. E. Roberts Foundation, supporting education and opportunity, in The Bahamas, is an ambitious project undertaken by the Trustees of the Estate of the Honourable Bradley B. E. Roberts, in order to maintain his philanthropic contributions to the people of Bain & Grants Town. Mr. Roberts, through some sixty years of hard work and determination, left a legacy of more than material objects. He left a strong ethos that education and opportunity are the only ways to help change the lives of the less well off. The Trustees of the Estate of Bradley B. E. Roberts humbly seeks to invest his legacy with the appropriate consideration and dignity which we hope will reflect the life’s work of the man.
Foundation Mission Statement
To build on the human and socioeconomic equity, the Honourable Bradley B. E. Roberts believed, could be created through providing education and opportunity in The Bahamas.
Bradley Roberts came from humble beginnings. As a boy, he grew up on Augusta Street, one of eight children in a family of ten. With many years of hard work and determination, Roberts climbed the tall ladder of business and politics in the Bahamas.
“There were ten of us in my family and we lived in a wooden house with two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. There was a front porch and the outdoor toilet sat like a haunted house in the back of the yard disguised inside a rickety clapboard shed. Our house altogether was less than 400 sq. ft. In the summer it was like an oven inside, so we spent many afternoons sitting on the porch just for the fresh air. My parents occupied the main bedroom and my brothers and sisters had the other bedroom, the living room sofa and the floor.”
From the book “Big Bad Brad: The Autobiography of the Honourable Bradley B. E. Roberts”
Hear his journey in his own words. Click on the link below.
Bradley and his wife of 53 years, Hartlyn Roberts, in 1982 walking into the House of Assembly to take his seat for the first time as a Member of Parliament for the Grants Town constituency. It would be a seat he would hold, through many personal and political turmoils, for next 25 years.
Politics would come to be a substantial influence and shaper of almost all Bradley’s adult life. In 1977, he contested the Shirlea constituency for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) against former Premier Sir Roland Symonette. Mr. Roberts was not the frontrunner by far. He struggled to he heard as a novice political voice in the country. He would go on to lose against Sir Roland “Pop” Symonette in 1977, and lost again against Pierre Dupuch in 1982.
As fate would have it, Shadrack Morris, the honourable member for Grants Town, died suddenly in 1982, not long after the PLP won the general elections of that year. Bradley was chosen to contest the seat in the by-election for what was, the heart of the grassroots community of New Providence. The PLP secured a by-election victory that year and thus the political career of Bradley Roberts was born. Mr. Roberts would go on to serve as a Member of Parliament for 25 consecutive years (1982-2007), initially for Grants Town, and later the Bain & Grants Town constituency.
The 2002 General Elections
Before entering public life in 1977, Bradley Roberts was already a well-known business executive and entrepreneur who worked his way up through the corporate ladder from an entry level post. His very first entrepreneurial business venture was to open a music store, called the International House of Music, on Nassau Street near the Super Value. Mr. Roberts eventually was a major figure in the beverage industry for many years. He was the president and held directorships at various times in Bahamas Blenders which later became Burns House Ltd., Commonwealth Brewery Ltd., ABDAB Ltd. and Bethel Robertson & Co. Ltd.
Mr. Roberts was one of the founding members of the Sunshine Boys. They were a group of young, ambitious, Bahamian men, who had a business vision of what they could possibly achieve as a collective. They met at one another’s houses or offices to strategise a plan. Over many years, it evolved into the Sunshine Group of Companies, an organisation which would come to shape his life and business success in ways that he could only have dreamed of as boy, selling vegetables, on Augusta Street. His directorships in this group included Arawak Homes Ltd., Eleuthera Properties Ltd., Sunshine Holdings Ltd., Freeport Oil Company Ltd., In-flight Kitchen Ltd. He also served as Chairman of Sunshine Holdings; President of Burns House; the Vice-Chairman of General Bahamian Companies Ltd., and Vice-President and Director of Freeport Oil Ltd.
BRADLEY ROBERTS HAD A DEEP DEVOTION TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
On Sunday mornings, at the early mass as St Francis Church, Roberts could usually be found, sitting in the back pew, contemplating the teachings of the bible which the priest was expounding upon. He was a leading lay member of the Roman Catholic Church and lifelong parishioner at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on West Street. His attachment to the church has long historical roots as the church was near where Roberts lived as a child and built his first home on Augusta Street.