Representatives from various government entities provided details on the multitude of events for the 45th Annual Independence celebration, during a recent press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama.
Representatives from several government entities involved with the celebrations were on hand for the announcement. The celebrations are scheduled to begin with an Ecumenical Service on Sunday, June 24 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Sweetings Cay at 3:00 p.m.
Then on Saturday, June 30 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a West Grand Bahama reception at the Blue Marlin Cove.
The following day – Sunday, July 1 – an Ecumenical Service will take place at Zion Baptist Church, Eight Mile Rock at 4:00 p.m.
Another service will follow on July 2 at St. Cleveland Baptist Church in Freetown at 7:00 p.m.
On July 4 a gospel concert is slated for St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church at 7:00 p.m., then on July 5 there will be a Family Fun Day in Williams/Russell Town at 11:00 a.m. That same day a Gospel and Cultural Extravaganza is set for Sweetings Cay on the grounds of the All Age School.
Later on that day Goombay Summer Festival is expected to get underway at Taino Beach, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Then Friday, July 6 is National Pride/Flag Day and the West Grand Bahama’s Cultural Extravaganza.
On July 8, there will be an Ecumenical Service at Calvary Temple Assembly of God at 3:00 p.m. The following day will feature the 45th Anniversary Celebration, Cultural Extravaganza, RBPF Tattoo and Fireworks Display at Independence Park.
Reverend Robert Lockhart, president of the Grand Bahama Christian Council (GBCC) noted that it is important to celebrate the goodness of God and encouraged the entire Grand Bahama community to attend the various Ecumenical Services.
“These services are an opportunity for us to give thanks to God for what He has done for us, what He is doing and what He will continue to do,” said Rev. Lockhart.
Noting that this year’s celebration will include a special treat for residents and visitors alike, Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commander Chapell Whymms said that a highlight for Grand Bahama will be the Beat Retreat with the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Bands.
He revealed that the RBDF Rangers will also participate in the events this year.
Assistant Commissioner of Police and Officer-in-Charge of Grand Bahama and the Northern Bahamas, ACP Samuel Butler noted his excitement at having both bands perform for the celebrations in Grand Bahama this year.
“Grand Bahama, the bands are coming and if you miss this event you missed an event of a lifetime,” he said.
He added that a lot of planning has gone into preparing for their performances and assured the public that police officers will be out in full force to ensure safety during these events.
West Grand Bahama councillor, Rosney Cooper, disclosed that for West Grand Bahama’s service, Rev. Marcus Cooper from East Grand Bahama has been invited to deliver the sermon.
He added that West Grand Bahama’s Family Fun Day will not feature any water activities. “We’re going to keep all of our activities on land.”
Speaking to West Grand Bahama’s Flag Raising ceremony, Cooper said that transportation will be provided for senior citizens beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Additionally, “One of the members of our board would have had a Union Jack flown in so that we can reenact the lowering of the Union Jack and then raise our flag,” he said.
Cooper added that West Grand Bahama’s Cultural Extravaganza will be one to remember, featuring fireworks and performances by D Mack, Dyson Knight and other Bahamian artists.
There will also be a display of Bahamian culture through art, where Bahamian artists such as former Administrator of East Grand Bahama, Harvey Roberts will showcase his work which can be purchased at a silent auction. This will take place at a Wine and Cheese event at Old Bahama Bay on June 26.
Monique Leary of the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture elaborated on the cultural show that is scheduled prior to the Police Tattoo at Monday’s (July 9) event.
She stated that this year they will be highlighting the children. “It’s all about the children.”
She revealed that the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies for the show are Will Stubbs Sr., and Ms. Daisy, respectively.
“She (Ms. Daisy) will bring all of her colors to the Independence Park,” Leary said.
She noted that the cultural show will begin with a prelude of Rake n’ Scrape performed by the elderly and then it will move into the children’s performance.
Following that the production will feature its first scene, with the Year of the Drums starting with the history of The Bahamas. Students from every school on the island will be participating in the production.
The year of the drums will display the Arawak Indians, Europeans and Slavery.
Then Scene Two – Fruits of the Island – will display Bahamian icons. “We will be featuring Wilfred Solomon and a tribute to Ronnie Butler … all would be showcased by our young people,” she said.
Then the show will go into the Independence Bahamas featuring Rake N’ Scrape, Stileet and Junkanoo. It will climax with musical performances and a gospel choir, followed by Rev. Lockhart’s Independence address.