Pure excitement and true patriotic pride were evident on all four corners of Independence Park on Monday (July 9) evening as hundreds assembled to celebrate the country’s pre-Independence Day festivities, at the 45th Anniversary Celebration, Cultural Extravaganza, Tattoo and Fireworks display.
Hosted by Will Stubbs and Lynn Terez Davis-Nixon, better known as ‘Miss Dynamite Daisy,’ – the duo dressed in their Independence attire, had the audience engaged and entertained throughout the entire evening.
Under the theme, ‘We have come this far by Faith’ the event showcased Bahamian culture at its finest, while sharing history lessons throughout the program.
Government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest; Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister Sen. Kwasi Thompson; President of the Senate, Sen. Katherine Smith; Members of Parliament Frederick McAlpine, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and their spouses, and other senior dignitaries were all in attendance.
Members of the clergy, including President of the Grand Bahama Christian Council Rev. Robert Lockhart, featured speaker, were also in attendance.
Lockhart, in his Independence message reminded the audience that but for the grace of God, the country has made it this far.
Sharing several examples of obstacles and barriers that the country has overcome, Rev. Lockhart said, “In 1967 we gained Majority Rule and Sir Lynden Pindling of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) became the first native born Bahamian to serve as the Premier and eventually Prime Minister of the Majority Rule Bahamas. We have come this far by faith.
“On June 22, 1973, the British House of Lords voted to give The Bahamas its Independence and Prince Charles delivered the official documents to the late Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling. Officially declaring The Bahamas, a fully independent nation on July 10, 1973, and on that same day, we joined the Commonwealth of Nations. Sir Milo Butler was appointed the first Bahamian Governor General of The Bahamas. We have come this far by faith.
“On September 18, 1973, The Bahamas was recognized by the world community and became a member of the United Nations. We have come this far by faith,” said Rev. Lockhart.
Attendees of this year’s event also had the opportunity to witness the awesome talent of. Grand Bahama’s youth, as many of the choreographed dance performances and skits included young people of varying ages. Not only were they heavily involved in song and dance throughout the evening but were also instrumental in the bands as well. Young musicians showcased their exceptional talent through melodious harmony in celebration of Bahamian culture.
Noted Bahamian musicians such as Wilfred Solomon and the Magnetics Band, the Rake N’ Scrape General Stileet, D Mac and the Interdenominational Mass Choir (IMC), all electrified the stage reaffirming that The Bahamas is indeed beaming with outstanding talent in every genre of music.
Following his dynamic performance, Stileet admonished all in attendance to stop the violence and live as one. “Father God, please cover this country. Please let us stop the violence and live as one,” Stileet declared.
Not to be forgotten was the ‘Godfather’ of Bahamian music, the late Ronnie Butler, who was also highlighted during the event. Again, the youth took to the stage, members of the Georgia’s School of Dance and others showcased Bahamian culture, dancing to a number of Butler’s most popular songs.
Rake N’ scrape, ring play, and other forms of Bahamian culture were also highlighted by the youth.
Additional highlights of the evening were performances by various uniformed officers of The Bahamas Government, who wowed the crowd. Two particular favorites were that of the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Fire Division and K-9 Unit, as they showcased interactive skits, reenacting their duties.
The evening concluded shortly after midnight, with Rev. Lockhart praying for the nation, the raising of the Bahamian flag, the audience uniting with one voice to sing the country’s National Anthem and the show stopping fireworks display that lit the midnight sky and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.