Categorized | Featured, National News

P.I. Bridge Renamed In Sir Sidney’s Honour

PI-Fireworks

Despite the backlash for its decision, the government moved ahead with renaming the Paradise Island Bridge after Academy Award winning actor Sir Sidney Poitier this past Friday.

Hundreds of students and government officials packed the Betty Cole Park for the official renaming ceremony.

Many of Sir Sidney’s family were also there – some of whom are from Cat Island, his native home.

The renaming signalled the official launch of the country’s 40th independence anniversary.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said Sir Sidney is a “role model and a trailblazer for so many.”

He added that many Bahamians did not know what roles he played in The Bahamas such as the many scholarships he gave to Bahamians and to the country’s hurricane relief efforts.

“Here at home in The Bahamas and in the United States you were a fearless fighter for racial equality and you did it at a time when fighters were few and frontline fighters were even fewer. You didn’t have to do it, but you did. You had so much to lose but for you it didn’t matter. Instead you answered an inner call to rise up, to stand tall and to do right,” the nation’s chief said.

“As prime minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas I want to publically thank you sir for all those contributions that you have made and to thank you for the service you have given to The Bahamas over the years as ambassador to Japan and UNESCO. And so we are here this morning to rename this bridge not only after a great Bahamian, but our gratitude to a good man.”

He continued, “In our wonderful democracy, whether one likes it or doesn’t, Sir Sidney Poitier is the most famous Bahamian in the whole wide world.”

A man of little words, Sir Sidney took the opportunity to address many of the young people gathered.

“You are the golden gifts of ancestors long gone. You are the magic future of The Bahamas. You will design its future. You will take this country to levels unimagined by your ancestors and you and the education you will provide to the culture, to the history, to the ongoing strength of the country of your birth. You will also be remembered for the contribution made to the world at large for the source of your power will always be the breadth and width, the dimensions of your education. The journey you are destined to make through your lifetime will be registered in the lands of history for centuries to come,” he said.

“Your education will lead you across different roads to marshal success of every conceivable kind. I send you my best thoughts and wishes. May God bless you and God speed to each and every one of you.”

Later at a news conference, Sir Sidney responded to the backlash over the bridge being renamed after him.

“I look at the situation and I try to see the truth of it in relation to me,” he said.

“But I also have to look at the truth of it from the opposite part of the question so that if I understand the reasons persons say ‘I don’t believe in him and such’, they have the prerogative to do that and I can defend myself but I will not spend my life defending myself in a circumstance that isn’t going to go anywhere.”

The government also proposing to name a new performance arts centre after Sir Sidney.

Kendea Smith

Written by Kendea Smith

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