One of our reporters who was monitoring social media, expressed surprise over the disagreement, so many had regarding the change of the official Independence celebration in Grand Bahama. We were induced by the powers that be, to do the countdown to Independence at approaching midnight between July 8-9, rather than 24 hours later, as is standard.
It was good to have His Excellency, Governor General C.A. Smith among us. That was special, but, Independence Day is July 10. According to our reporter there was a great outcry via social media and we fully understand someone taking the position that there are pre and post- Independence activities, but the actual official saluting of the great day ought to be as at the historic hoisting of The Bahamas’ flag midnight July 9-10, 1973.
It went against the grain of history, for the official ceremony in Grand Bahama to be pushed up 24 hours. It was a presumptuous attitude demonstrated by the government. Whether the planners recognized it or not, the act smacked of arrogance and those who complained had a right to do so.
July 10 is sacred to hundreds of thousands of Bahamians, and going forward, it would be good if the government keeps that in mind.
That being emphasized, the presence of GG Smith, was nevertheless refreshing. He hails from Long Island but has long been adopted by Grand Bahama. We see him as one of our own and it was indeed good to bear witness on island soil, to His Excellency participating in official activities. The view here, though, is that more Grand Bahamians would have been in place to live out the experience if not for the change of date.
In one of The Freeport News’ articles on the Independence celebrations it was noted that: “Although many residents were not happy about the date change for the (official) celebration, there were positives that outweighed negatives.”
We don’t support the position that Independence Day July 10 should be juggled backwards or forward. As much as it was appreciated, that Governor General Smith graced us with his presence, it could be argued that the change was more in line with the availability of government dignitaries. Thus, functioning in accordance with tradition, and the true history of the moment took a back seat.
The situation cements the point that governing officials too often, operate as though we serve their needs and wishes, and not the other way around.
Whatever the rationale, July 10 is Independence Day for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Grand Bahama inclusive.