50 events to mark 50th independence

The National Independence Secretariat yesterday announced 50 official events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of independence in The Bahamas.

The events began in January and will come to a climax on Independence Day, July 10, with a 50th Independence People’s Rush, Family Fun Day on Clifford Park, and a state reception.

The events include a Master Class Series, environmental projects, a Bay Street Festival, and various receptions, seminars and services.

Chairperson of the National Independence Secretariat Leslia Miller-Brice said the events will take place throughout the islands of The Bahamas and throughout those locations where there is a Bahamian diaspora.

Aside from the 50 events, Miller-Brice said there will be 242 days of initiatives and challenges between May 3 and December 31.

“For 242 days, we will highlight the sourcing of our food by highlighting farmer’s markets, local farmers, fishermen, and our local industries,” said Miller-Brice at a press conference at University of The Bahamas.

Among the other initiatives are the Healthier, Wealthier and Wiser Bahamas Challenge, The Five Sundays Initiative, and the My Country My Responsibility Challenge.

“This challenge seeks to shift the culture surrounding cleanliness and sanitation for our neighborhoods, communities, and public spaces,” Miller-Brice said.

“Inclusive of community clean-up activities, the secretariat is taking a step further with community engagement exercises to engage Bahamians everywhere to do their part, show their pride, and be committed to cleaner habits and behaviors.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis addressed the press conference where he noted the importance of inclusion, and recalled the uncertainty some felt before the nation became independent.

“What’s most important is that we celebrate in a way that includes all Bahamians, young and old and everyone in between,” Davis said. “North and south and everyone in between.

“Independence was a big deal. In fact, many people openly questioned whether we could truly survive on our own. We not only survived, we thrived. Each generation has made its own unique contributions to the tapestry of Bahamian history and along the way, we have learned a lot about ourselves.”

Davis said Bahamians have had to overcome major challenges including the devastation of Hurricane Dorian and other storms, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other economic hardships.

While acknowledging that the country still faces many challenges, the prime minister said that The Bahamas has made notable progress despite the setbacks.

“Bahamian resilience has been on full display. Our story of overcoming, our story of determination and strength, our story of beating the odds is a story worthy of being told. It is a story worth celebrating. That is what the road to 50 is all about,” said Davis.

“We are not perfect, but even our imperfect progress has seen us rise and excel.

“The miracle of The Bahamas should not be taken for granted.

“We are a small island nation with the third highest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere and a culture and quality of life that are unrivaled.

“When we celebrate the Road to 50, we are acknowledging that we are a blessed nation.

“To celebrate independence does not mean we are ignoring the challenges we face.

“It is, though, an acknowledgment that, despite these challenges 50 years later, we are still here carving a path of resilience, courage and excellence.”

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