The author of the nation’s pledge of allegiance, Rev. Dr. Philip Rahming, topped the list of national honors announced yesterday, with former politicians Frank Watson and Tommy Turnquest, as well as former Senate President Lynn Holowesko, among those also receiving awards.
In all, 21 Bahamians were named as honorees, some of them posthumously.
In addition to former politicians and clergymen, the list also features other men and women who have helped shape The Bahamas over the past 40-plus years.
Recipients were awarded in three categories: Order of The Bahamas, Order of Distinction and Order of Merit.
Order of The Bahamas
Rahming was named a companion of the Order of The Bahamas. As a companion of this order, he is now entitled to be referred to as “right honorable”.
The late Timothy Gibson, who composed the national anthem, and the late Rev. Dr. Hervis Bain, who designed the flag, were also posthumously named
companions of the Order of The Bahamas.
The award of Order of The Bahamas is given to any Bahamian “who has achieved outstanding distinction in The Bahamas and given distinguished and exemplary service to The Bahamas”.
Order of Distinction
Watson, a former deputy prime minister, and Turnquest, who served in the Ingraham Cabinet, were named companions of the Order of Distinction.
“I am delighted that my service to my country has been recognized and rewarded, but in all I owe whatever distinction or award I come into to my mother and father and to my family in Long Island who instilled in me a sense of pride, and the people of The Bahamas, particularly Carmichael Road, City 2000, who have over the years continuously put their trust in me delivering for them,” Watson said.
Former Deputy Commissioner of Police Keith Vere Mason; Dr. Elwood Donaldson, who was among the PLP members who ushered in Majority Rule in 1967; and Frank Rolle, a former politician and diplomat, were named officers of the Order of Distinction.
Historian and author Dr. Gail Saunders; Angela Missouri Sherman-Peter, who has had a distinguished career in diplomacy and public service; businessman Godfrey Kelly; former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Edward “Dud” Maynard; Holowesko, the former Senate president, and Norwood Rahming were named members of the Order of Distinction.
“I am very grateful,” Saunders told The Nassau Guardian, as she reflected on the honor.
“It’s quite a compliment, but I don’t do my work thinking about being honored.
“I do it because I love my country and Bahamian people, and I try, hopefully I’ve tried, to do some things, especially in writing the history that will impact some of the people, especially young people, because it’s very important to know your history and to appreciate your country and all the people who have served this country.
“There are so many and I salute all of them.”
Holowesko said, “I am grateful to have been chosen to be honored by my country, which I dearly love and have tried my best to serve in many ways, all of my adult life.”
This honor is given to Bahamians recognized for exemplary service provided to The Bahamas.
Order of Merit
Rev. Dr. Charles Saunders and Bishop Carrington Pinder were named companions of the Order of Merit.
Former parliamentarian Edmund Moxey and Louis George Adams were posthumously named companions.
Rev. Carl Rahming was named an officer of the Order of the Merit.
Rev. Charles Sweeting and Rev. Oral Rex Major were named members.
This honor is given to Bahamians who have “achieved eminent national or international distinction in the field of science, education, public service, the arts, literature or any other endeavor”.
The National Honors Act was put into law under the Christie administration in 2016.
At the time, the then Prime Minister Perry Christie noted, “We have over the past few years been naming buildings, defense force vessels and roads after national heroes.
“We want our children to understand their noble heritage. We want our young men and women to understand what it means to stand on the shoulders of Pompey, Stephen Dillett, Clarence Bain, Milo Butler, Georgiana Symonette, Dame Doris Johnson, Rev. Dr. H.W. Brown, Clement Bethel, Amos Ferguson, Winston (Gus) Cooper, Sir Lynden Pindling and hundreds of others.”
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish
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