It was the summer of 1977 with the culmination of the years of planning by the likes of Cornel D. Mortimer and shuttle diplomacy of Lester J. Mortimer, Jr., who in concert with brothers Granville C. Bain, John A. Godet, Derek “Ace” Bastian, Cleveland W. Eneas, Jr. and Lowell J. Mortimer who collaborated with other Bahamian men that were Omegas and made application to The Fraternity’s Headquarters for a chapter to be chartered in Nassau, Bahamas.
The Supreme Council of the Fraternity under the leadership of Grand Basileus, Edward J. Braynon, approved the Charter Application on August 17, 1977 which also got support from the wider brotherhood stretching from Florida up through Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Brothers of note included Brother Philip J. Mortimer, Carver Potluck and Samuel Sheppard (Editor-to-the-Oracle).
On August 22, 1977 Bro. Dr. Edward J. Braynon, accompanied by some sixty other visiting brothers and well wishers, personally presented the charter of Pi Xi Chapter to Bro. John A. Godet, Charter Basileus, who accepted on behalf of the other ten proud charter members who consisted of the following: Bros. Cornel D.V. Mortimer (Keeper of Records & Seal), Paul Clare (Vice Basileus), Peter L. Mitchell (Keeper of Finance), Granville C. Bain (Chaplain), Cleveland Eneas, Jr., Gregory Austin, Lowell J. Mortimer, Lester J. Mortimer, Jr., Philip J. Mortimer and Derek G. Bastian.
During the time just weeks prior to the charter presentation the brothers in Nassau suffered the loss of beloved Bro. Derek Glenn Bastian who suffered injury in a fire in which he had re-entered a burning building in efforts to rescue a family member. Bro. Bastian succumbed to those injuries several days later, nevertheless his name was included as a charter member of the chapter and at Ace’s homegoing to Omega Chapter, the brotherhood further rededicated themselves to the causes of Omega in his memory.
The Charter ceremony was held at “GranVilla”, Hibiscus Estates, West Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas, the beachfront home of Bro. Dr. Granville Bain. The event was organized by the brothers under the chairmanship of Bro. Lowell J. Mortimer. Other brothers who were also home in Nassau during this time and attended the ceremony included Excellency Bro. Davidson L. Hepburn, Ph.D., and Bros. Vaughn L. Culmer and Dr. Cleveland W. Eneas, Sr.,. O.B.E.
The presidents and members of the other seven black greek letter organizations also attended the affair along with numerous local dignitaries, foremost of which was the Governor General (Head of State) Sir Gerald C. Cash, O.B.E., JP who welcomed the Grand Basileus and visiting brothers and proposed the first toast to Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.- Pi Xi Chapter.
Since that day Pi Xi Chapter has been on the move promoting the Fraternity’s programs designed to uplift downtrodden humanity, stimulate the attainment of ideals and ambitions of its’ members, and disseminate those ideals to those in which they have come in contact. The chapter also sought to occupy a progressive, helpful and constructive place in the civic life of the community. Programs pursued via community outreach include the sponsorship of an Omega Psi Phi Chair at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, the chapter’s Big Brother program at the Boy’s and Girls Industrial School through Junior Achievement and The Gentlemen’s Club, an Annual Essay Contest for college-bound seniors, High School Talent Hunt, The Omega High School Invitational Basketball Tournament, Social Action through canned food/old cloths drives, Fundraising for the Red Cross Society and for College of the Bahamas Scholarships via events such as Da’ Greasy Pit and the renowned Cruise With The Ques.
Eleven years after its founding, Pi Xi Chapter came of age successfully initiating seven men as a part of its first line during September 1988. They came to be known as “The Seven Surviving Aces” name quite appropriately after Bro. Derek “Ace” Bastian.
By Peter L. Mitchell