His Excellency Sir Orville Turnquest


1995 - 2001


His Excellency Sir Orville Turnquest, G.C.M.G., Q.C., was the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. He was sworn in on January 3, 1995, succeeding His Excellency Sir Clifford Darling.

Upon assumption of the Office of Governor-General, Sir Orville was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

A former Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Orville has had an illustrious career as a barrister-at-law and counsel and attorney.

Sir Orville Turnquest became Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister of Foreign Affairs on September 1, 1993, having served as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs since August 21, 1992.

He was born in Grant's Town, New Providence, July 19, 1929, to the late Robert and Gwendolyn Turnquest.

Having obtained the Cambridge Junior Certificate, Cambridge Senior Certificate and London Matriculation Certificate at the Government High School between 1942 and 1945, he was an articled law student in the chambers of the late Hon. A.F. Adderley from 1947 to 1953. The Governor-General was called to The Bahamas Bar in June, 1953.

He earned a bachelor of laws degree with honours at the University of London between 1957 and 1960, and was admitted to the English Bar in July, 1960, after successfully writing his bar Examinations as a member of Lincoln's Inn, London.

In private practice since 1953 as counsel and attorney and notary public, the Governor-General was a senior partner in the law firm of Dupuch and Turnquest prior to his becoming a Cabinet Minister. He acted as Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrate and Coroner in 1959, and served as President of The Bahamas Bar Association and chairman of The Bahamas Bar Council between 1970 and 1972. He is a former part-time lecturer in law at The Bahamas Extra-mural Department of the University of the West Indies and a member of The Bahamas Law Revision Committee. He was a law tutor and a member of the Examining Board for admission to The Bahamas Bar from 1965 until his ministerial appointment. Sir Orville was made a Queen's Counsel of the Supreme Court on January 6, 1993.

Sir Orville Turnquest served as Secretary-General of the Progressive Liberal Party from 1960 until 1962 and served as a Member of Parliament for the South Central Constituency of New Providence from 1962 until 1967 as a representative of the Progressive Liberal Party; he was Opposition Leader in the Senate from 1972 to 1979. Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement from 1987 to 1994 and its former Chairman and Treasurer, he won the Montagu seat in the House of Assembly in the June, 1982, general election and retained the seat in the following two general elections, including that of August 19, 1992, when the FNM ousted the PLP from office.

He was a delegate at The Bahamas Constitutional Conference in London, England, in 1963 and 1972. He was also a Bahamian delegate at a Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in New Delhi in 1976, and an observer at a 1983 CPA Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. In October, 1992, Sir Orville served as President of the 38th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference which was held in Nassau.

Sir Orville Turnquest is Chancellor of the Diocese of Nassau and The Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, and serving on several executive bodies of the Anglican Church, including the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Finance Committee. He is a member of the Anglican Central Education Authority, The Bahamas National Committee of United World Colleges, and the boards of governors of St. John's College and St. Anne's High School.

He has also served as a member of the Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of the West Indies and on several of its executive committees, including the Provincial Standing Committee, the Commission on Theological Education, the Canons Revision Committee, and the Anglican Conference of North America and the Caribbean.

He is a former Director of Education and Past Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge. He is also a former member of the Airports Board.

He married Edith Louise Thompson on February 19, 1955. They have two daughters and one son - Caryl Antoinette Eileen Lashley, a barrister-at-law; Michele Cecile Edith Fields, a chartered accountant; and Orville Alton Thompson Turnquest, a former bank officer who won the Mount Moriah House of Assembly seat in the August 19, 1992, general elections and is now a Minster of Tourism in the FNM Government.

His recreational pursuits are tennis, swimming, music and reading.

His Excellency Sir Orville Turnquest departed office November 13, 2001.

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