Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie said, on March 17, 2013, that Bahamians must still work hard at bridging the differences – political and otherwise – and be able to recognize when to “let go and come together” in a national context.
“Those of you who have participated in the public life understand the importance of nation building and that it does not take one political side or even two political sides. It takes the entire country,” Prime Minister Christie said during the Service of Thanksgiving for the Official Launch of the 40th Anniversary of Celebrations on Grand Bahama Island, held at Jubilee Cathedral, Settlers Way, Freeport.
“One must work hard at ensuring that we bridge the differences that we have when we have events of this kind,” he added. “It is just too important to the future of our country.”
Among the Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior Government officials, civic and religious leaders and stakeholders present were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip “Brave” Davis, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville, Senator Tanisha Tynes, National Co-Chairman of the Independence Committee Mr. Charles Carter, Grand Bahama Co-Chairmen of the Independence Committee Mrs. Mary Culmer and Mr. Peter Adderley, Grand Bahama Christian Council (GBCC) President Bishop Arnold Pinder, GBCC Vice President Pastor Keith Meadows and host pastor Bishop Godfrey R. Williams.
Also present were noted Grand Bahamians and former Cabinet Ministers Mr. Maurice Moore, Mr. C. A. Smith and Dr. Marcus Bethel, who received special recognition by Prime Minister Christie.
Prime Minister Christie said that the 40th Independence Celebrations could be one of final opportunities for those who took the country through independence and are still alive to interact with those younger Bahamians who now chart the future.
He added that when one sees Bahamians such as Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes, former Governor General Sir Orville Turnquest and former Cabinet Ministers Messrs. Moore and Loftus Roker, one sees a “symbolism of our political history”.
“And the fact that I am the Prime Minister today of a Progressive Liberal Party Government should ought not to stop me, in any way, from recognizing when men were frightened to move forward,” Prime Minister Christie said.
He pointed to Grand Bahamian and former Free National Movement cabinet minister Mr. Moore who, Prime Minister Christie said, manifested courage as a young man to respond to the call of the leaders of the time, when people were being asked to march and pray throughout the country.
“The big tragedy of our country is we do not know its history and we do not speak often enough about it” Prime Minister Christie said, “so when Obie (Minister Wilchcombe) gave us a brief discourse (earlier in the service), to many of the ears in this church, they were hearing it for the first time.
“And this is the challenge to our country and the challenge to Grand Bahama – and the challenge is: before there was a Freeport, what was this island all about?” Prime Minister Christie added. “Who were the people who connected themselves one to another on the island of Grand Bahama and how did they do it? Who are those people? What is their life story?”
Prime Minister Christie pointed out that it is a disservice to the young people, who do not know, to make it difficult to find out the historical facts about Grand Bahama and a change must take place.
“This is a time now for us to use the opportunity of the 40th anniversary, to know that we are laying the foundation for the 50th anniversary, as young Jasmin said (Eight Mile Rock High School student Jasmin Bain, who spoke earlier in the service),” Prime Minister Christie said.
He said that when one hears the young persons who spoke at the service make presentations about their dreams, one could feel their confidence in them actualizing their dreams. Prime Minister Christie also addressed Ms. Bain’s dream to become a nurse.
“If you really want to do that dream, be a doctor and a nurse,” he encouraged her. “You have the ability to do that.”
Prime Minister Christie stressed that Bahamians must work hard in connecting all the islands, ensuring that the same level of inspiration and patriotism that exists in the larger cities is throughout the whole archipelago.
He added that none of the historic persons that he is encouraging recognition of were perfect, as only God is perfect.
“Then, with all the human imperfections that they had – taking all of that into consideration – there are those who have done wonders for this country and this is the time to lift up their stories, lift up their names, so that they could serve as inspiring stories for future generations of Bahamians,” Prime Minister Christie said.
By Eric Rose
Bahamas Information Services