Categorized | National News

PM Announces New Holidays

Two key pieces of legislation will be brought into force tomorrow during a public ceremony at Government House – the Majority Rule (Public Holiday) Act 2013 and the National Heroes Act 2007, adding one holiday to the country’s calendar and renaming another.

Prime Minister Perry Christie made the announcement in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

As of Monday, Bahamians will, for the first time, celebrate the October 12 holiday as National Heroes Day and not Discovery Day.

The national holiday will be observed on the second Monday in the month of October.

Majority Rule Day, meantime, will be celebrated on January 10 starting next year.

In the past, Mr. Christie has stressed that there is “no event in the whole of Bahamian history that can be objectively credited with greater importance than the attainment of Majority Rule on January 10, 1967.”

“I then made the point . . . as indeed I do again today that January 10 does not belong just to black Bahamians, or just to PLPs, but to all Bahamians,” he said.

Mr. Christie said it deserves to be elevated above the political fray and above societal divisions.

Meantime, the National Heroes Act 2007 creates the formal machinery for the selection and recognition of the country’s national heroes.

“This, of course, is the group of persons, be they living or dead, for whom the nation’s highest honours will be reserved,” the prime minister said.

“By nature, this group, this ‘order of national heroes,’ will be exceedingly small – the rarest of the rare, the greatest of the great. And it must remain so if the term national hero is to retain its legitimacy.”

The nation’s chief said this status is only intended to be conferred on those citizens who have “fundamentally” influenced the course of Bahamian history or who have given service to The Bahamas by outstanding leadership, extraordinary achievement or heroic sacrifice of a “truly transformative kind.”

He said an announcement will be made “shortly” as to the individuals who will make up the Advisory Committee under the act.

These people will be charged with identifying and investigating citizens – living or dead – who should be recommended for conferment of the honour of ‘national hero of The Bahamas’ – a status that will carry with it the right to be known and addressed as ‘Right Excellent.’

The committee will consist of seven people, including two members of each House of Parliament.

“It would certainly be my wish, Mr. Speaker, that there be one nominee from the government and one nominee from the Opposition in each of the House of Assembly and the Senate. This will ensure optimal balance and parity,” he said.

“We really do need to take partisanship and political prejudice out of the selection of our national heroes. To do otherwise would be to debase the whole process and to detract from the sense of national unity and patriotism that should always be exclusively in view when we approach a matter such as this.”

The governor-general, who will serve as chancellor of the order, will make the appointments after acting on the prime minister’s advice and after consultation with the leader of the Opposition and after consideration of the Advisory Committee’s report.

Mr. Christie said he expects to be in a position to speak more generally to the revamping of the country’s system of national honours.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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