Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister Senator J. Kwasi Thompson, called the 2018 Beat Retreat a wonderful display of Bahamian culture by Bahamian armed forces.
Tourists and residents alike watched as The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) kicked off their contribution to the 45th Bahamas Independence Celebrations with their 2018 Beat Retreat Cultural Extravaganza Show on Saturday (July 7) at Port Lucaya Marketplace.
Thompson expressed best wishes to the general public for a “Happy Independence” and praised the bands.
“It makes us all proud to see the display from these armed forces’ bands. The public really enjoyed the show. The event highlighted major milestones in Bahamian history that came before the country’s Independence, with performances by the RBPF Band and RBDF Band, also dramatizations and singing.
Such historic moments included the Burma Road Riots, Majority Rule and of Independence.
The Burma Road Riots took place on June 1, 1942.
The events of the Burma Road Riots came as a result of the agitation by natives wanting equal pay for equal work, regardless of color or nationality. Two rioters were killed by British troops, more than 40 people injured and over a hundred arrested.
Majority Rule is often attributed as the catalyst to Independence in The Bahamas. This (Majority Rule) was ushered in on January 10, 1967, and it symbolized the promise of equality, a level playing field, and fair play for all Bahamians.
The Bahamas finally became an independent nation on July 10, 1973.
Thompson furthered that Independence is a time for Grand Bahamians to unite and assess who they are as a people.
“More importantly, it is a time for them to be thankful to God for what he has done for The Bahamas as a whole. This year’s Independence Celebrations theme is “We’ve come this far by Faith,” he said.
He referred also to a pledge of the governing Free National Movement Party.
“The Bahamas government is continuing to work on the revitalization of Grand Bahama and the island has recently experienced some progress.
“We are not where we want to be but we’re thankful that we have progressed further than we were,” he said.
Various Government officials attended the show including Deputy Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest, and President of the Senate Katherine Forbes-Smith.
Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest also commented on the day’s festivities. He stated that the RBPF and RBDF bands brought such pride in being a Bahamian and that it was great to see parents bringing their children to the show to witness the performances.
“It’s very exciting to see them perform,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and Officer-in-Charge of Grand Bahama and the Northern Bahamas Samuel Butler noted that many members of the community came to show their support at the event.
“It’s a pleasure to be celebrating Independence,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police in Grand Bahama and the Northern Bahamas Emrick Seymour, also attended the Beat Retreat. He returned to Grand Bahama for a brief visit from New Providence, where he currently resides. Seymour said that he was pleased to see the large crowd of people at the Beat Retreat celebrating The Bahamas.
“Any opportunity to showcase who we are as Bahamians and who we are as a people, I’m for it,” he said.