NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – Bahamians are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their political independence from Britain with street parades and a call by Prime Minister Phillip Davis that independence is the first step on a long journey.
“Independence was and is, a state of mind, an attitude, a conviction, that we will faithfully discharge the weighty responsibilities of sovereignty and self-determination,” Davis told a huge crowd at Clifford Park in the early hours of Monday that culminated in a spectacular fireworks display.
Reflecting on the July 10, 1973 occasion, Davis said “our Bahamian flag will be raised once again. It will be an echo of that moment, 50 years ago, on July 10th 1973, which marked the birth of our nation. “It was and is a moment of awe, one which has delivered a birthright which the world now marks by the manner of our bearing.
“On that night, as the flag slowly ascended, with it were raised the hopes and aspirations of the Bahamian people, to carve out our own identity, to make our own way, to seek to build the best little country in the world,” he said.
Davis told the crowd that Independence was not just a moment in time and that it was also “not just the throwing-off of the shackles of colonialism.
“Independence was the first big step on the long journey that continues to take our nation forward and upward. These past months, we have looked back with gratitude and pride, reminding ourselves of how we got here,” Davis stated.
He urged the audience never to forget those Bahamians such as former Prime Minister Lynden Oscar Pindling and “the many, many, great women and men, who built the foundation of our Bahamas, forever ring loudly in the hearts and minds of Bahamians everywhere.
“Moses led his people out of slavery and into the desert. That was their Independence. But Moses did not live to enter the Promised Land. It was Joshua who led the people forward on their journey. Through strength and courage, compassion and faith and hard work, it was up to Joshua to finish what God had started through Moses. My Brothers and Sisters, we, all of us, are the Joshua generation.
“Each of us is called to continue to play our part to build on our inheritance. Each of us is called to join our footsteps on the road to our Promised Land: a land where we can keep ourselves safe and secure; a land where we can raise ourselves out of poverty and educated into greatness; a land where opportunity and justice are free and fair and available to all!” Davis noted.
The 50th anniversary celebrations are being attended by regional and international guests including Rwanda President, Paul Kagame, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland and US Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Davis said “their presence is further recognition that we stand tall among the family of nations.
“From the lights of the Bahamian flag shining on the Empire State Building,” the Prime Minister Davis said he wanted to use the occasion to “reaffirm and recommit to the oaths and promises I made to you when I accepted the instruments of office.”
“I will continue to serve faithfully in all that I am called to do,” he said, adding as “our flag is once again raised to proclaim our independent Bahamas, I invite each of you to also reaffirm and re-commit to being your best selves, to do all that you can to make our Bahamas better. Together, we will move closer to the Promised Land.”