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Bahamas Begins Independence Celebrations Next Month


The government is getting an eight-month head start on the Bahamas’ 40th independence anniversary celebrations beginning with the renaming of the Paradise Island bridge and the National Centre for the Performing Arts.

The two landmarks will be renamed after Bahamian Academy Award winner and former Ambassador Sir Sidney Poitier on November 2 and November 3.

On November 3, Academy Award and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson will also perform a special concert in honour of Sir Sidney.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said the government will spare no effort for the celebrations.

“We have invested a lot in a new stadium and continue to do so,” he said. “It is time for us to also give to those who are artists, actresses, producers and directors – to give their talents the best place to develop.”

“We are going to use the 40th anniversary as a catalyst for that type of intervention for our country where we are going to commit ourselves through this committee through using the people at the College of The Bahamas, including the lecturers and the professors to create this higher level of awareness about developing the proper ethos of our country and being able to connect this island destination in a very special way through all of the components that make of this country and the characteristic spirit that drives this country and makes us all Bahamians – that feeling that is so important to uniting a nation.”

Mr. Christie said a lot of people have had some debate over Sir Sidney being honoured.

But he said Sir Sidney is a good choice.

“The fact of the matter is Sir Sidney was not only an incredible story but in his latter years he made significant contributions to diplomacy to The Bahamas as ambassador to UNESCO and Japan. For me, it is quite a pleasure to hold discussions with him and to communicate with him with respect to this matter and invite him to have his friends with him in The Bahamas for that weekend,” he said.

“We are now beginning a process that is intended to unite us and bring focus to what really brings us together and minimise what divides us.”

Co-Chair of the Independence Committee Charles Carter said the committee is looking to bridge the gap between the generations.

“It would be a joining of generations from the generation that brought you independence and who are historically paced to be here, we are a unique number of people,” he said.

“The generation that brought you independence is also a diminishing one. We are on our way out and it would be sad if we did not pass the baton to the next generation. We want to create a bridge between these generations so that in reminding Bahamians and specifically young Bahamians of the feelings we had that caused us to not only fight for independence but to stand up for independence to define that country in the way we want it defined and create a set of laws and culture that reflected that generation.”

Mr. Carter continued, “We created the modern Bahamas. That was two generations ago. It’s been 40 years. It’s time for the next generation to begin to share their vision for The Bahamas so that when we reach the 50th and 60th anniversary of our country it would not be Bahamians trying to discover themselves.”

Co-Chair Dr. Nicolette Bethel said a lot of persons questioned why The Bahamas should spend money at this time for the 40th anniversary.

“I find that question peculiar. It is never too expensive to celebrate one’s nationhood. That is an investment that nations should be making,” she said.

“I think we need to see it as the opening of celebrations of our 50th anniversary in 2023. This year is the 50th anniversary in Jamaica and Trinidad and we have a unique opportunity to be thinking about how we will commemorate our 50th starting in January 2013. The planning for the 50th anniversary needs to start today and we need to start building the country that we can all be proud of.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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