Remembrance, resolution and repentance were words residents should embrace, said Canon Norman Lightbourne, rector of Pro- Cathedral of Christ the King, during his address at the Annual Majority Rule Ecumenical Service Thursday (January 10) morning.
“Today, we set aside time to thank God for his loving kindness and tender mercy,” said Lightbourne. “I believe that each of you can agree with me, when I say that our God is a good God.
“Brothers and sisters, there can be no denying of the fact that we have come a mighty long way as a country. From a small sleeping village, to one of the leading destination for tourists. From one local airline, Bahamas Airways to now many local airlines. From one local TV station ZNS, to many local TV stations. From our economy ruled by the British we are now an independent sovereign nation.
“The point I am simply making in these examples I am using is to show, we have been counted mighty and to God belong all the glory, all the praise and all the thanks for the justice deserved,” said Lightbourne.
He noted that the progress was endured by many who fought through blood, sweat and tears.
“This progress came about as a result of the blood, sweat and tears of brave and mighty warriors who fought angrily and not violently. They risked their lives so that we can, today, have the privilege of going to cinemas where we feel like going, and going to restaurants to eat wherever we wish to go.
“Yes, we have the warriors at the forefront, but who gave the warriors the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding, and the strength to do what they were able to do,” exclaimed Lightbourne
“Today is a celebration and also a day of remembrance. We remember all the hard struggles for human dignity, equality and justice, and we must remember to salute our heroes and heroines.”
As there were many that have passed on, Lightbourne highlighted those that were fighting behind the scenes. “There are a lot of unsung heroes and heroines in our country.
“People who were behind the scenes, because not everybody would go to the forefront. It is those people that sacrificed and suffered. We are to salute them because without them, today would’ve never been historic.
“As we reflect, we try in our times, to display, exhibit and have similar courage to stand up for justice. We must never go back to the practices and programmes of past years that have enslaved us. We must call this day a day that never allows the minority to deprive the majority.
“Today is not only a day of remembrance and resolution, but it is a day of repentance and we must use this time and this day for national repentance.
“We need information to admit and confess that we no longer go against our God and against one another,” said Lightbourne.
Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest, in his remarks noted, “today is a day we celebrate all of the success in the country by remembering that we did not arrive at this point by chance.
“A lot of people worked very hard, sacrificed many opportunities and sacrificed their resources to get us where we are.
“Today, we take the opportunity to thank them, to pay tribute to them and to honor the memory of those who have passed, as well as those who are still with us. We do have some heroes that are still with us and thank God,” said Turnquest. “So, we celebrate them today, letting them know that we appreciate all they have done for us, to bring us to where we are today.”
Former Cabinet Minister and Ambassador, the Rt. Hon. Maurice Moore expressed disappointment in what he said was the lack of support for the service. “I wasn’t too satisfied when I looked back in church, because I didn’t even see the older ones.
“It’s good that there was a few of the Boy’s Brigade and Girl Guides, and that’s promising; but what the country needs now is leadership that will draw in the younger people in everything that we do, so that they can understand what is needed.
“I try to visit as many of the schools as I can and give them an idea of what it was like before Majority Rule. The reason I do that is because they need to become involved and educate themselves to take their rightful place in the rebuilding of this country. We are doing a good job, but we can do an even better job if we have the young people involved,” said Moore.
Deputy Governor. General Cornelius A. Smith, who was named among the country’s National Heroes, recalled how the colony was in the days when he grew up.
“Getting an education was almost impossible, if you lived on the Family Island. There really was a one room school that was situated four and five miles from where you lived.
“There was no transportation to get you there, so as a young boy, one had to get up before the fowl crow, do his chores, walk four miles to get to a one room school room and many times the schools were without furniture.
“In my case, my opportunity was to select a stone on which I would have my lessons done, there was no chairs.
“Not only were there not opportunities to get an education, but you were denied so many things. I look at the days before independence as really the days we were denied opportunities, access, social mobility and a good quality of life.
“Independence brought with us a good change in our society,” said Smith, “a change for the better and the change that was brought about must be utilized by the young people.
“They must take responsibility to make sure, we continue to change, not to sit on our laurels but take advantage of the change to their benefit and the benefit of their country.”
Loretta Taylor-Jones, who was in the struggle from 1962 said, “In 1967, I voted for Sir Randol Fawkes and how we got Majority Rule was when Sir Fawkes and Sir Albert Braynen joined up with Sir Lynden Pindling.
“Sir Lynden was in Andros and he came over and we had a big march from the airport.”
She added, “we had Wolfe Road blocked and then we went up to his house where we hung at Sir Lynden’s house and had a big celebration.
“I know where this country came from and I always want to push forward for it to be the way it always been when Sir Lynden brought it through.
“Right now, we are in a tough spot, but we must thank God because he is great and he will never leave us or forsake us,” said Taylor-Jones.
A number of government officials gathered at the Pro-Cathedral to commemorate Majority Rule, including Central Grand Bahama Member of Parliament, Iram Lewis and Member of Parliament for Pineridge, Rev. Frederick McAlpine.