Chair of the National Independence Secretariat Leslia Miller-Brice yesterday announced that a road race will kick off a series of events in preparation for the country’s 50th Independence Day celebrations next year.
“We are taking the road to 50 quite literally to start, and we want to invite the public on all islands to take to the road and participate in the Road to 50 race, which will be held this Saturday, December 3,” said Miller-Brice.
“Each island will have routes for the race, and I sincerely encourage students, parents and grandparents; pastors and churches; corporate Bahamas, civic and community groups of all abilities to join the race … Remember, the country only turns 50 once and we don’t want you to miss out on this experience.”
Miller-Brice cited the need for a “healthier nation” as the purpose of the race.
“COVID-19 only revealed our health challenges and noncommunicable diseases that plague our communities,” she said.
“It is important that as we celebrate our 50th, we do so in the best shape of our lives, cognizant of the small steps we can make like drinking more water, eating more fruits, and being more aware of what’s going on with our bodies.
“This is why our health village on Saturday morning is equally important as our vendors offer delicious and hearty Bahamian breakfast dishes. We invite everyone to participate in our health screenings, the farmer’s market, and partake in all of the fun and healthy activities that will be happening.”
She described the nation’s journey toward 50 as a “clarion call to unity”.
“We want Bahamians from every island; we want Bahamians from every background to come together and celebrate this milestone and our progress as an independent nation,” said Miller-Brice.
“We want this to be an opportunity to reassess, reflect and revitalize what it means to truly be an independent nation. We want this period to allow for a deep dive into our rich and diverse culture. We want to give renewed meaning to the phrase ‘Proud to be a Bahamian’. And we will do this all together on the road to 50.”
While noting that the winner of the national logo and theme competition will be announced in January 2023, Miller-Brice also stressed the need to jump-start Family Island economies.
“As an archipelago, we want there to be pomp and pageantry and a unified effort to support our local vendors in an effort to stimulate our local economies, from Bimini to Inagua, and every island and every cay,” she said.
“This requires a cadre of vendors, volunteers and creatives from each island. The Independence Secretariat would like for artists, chefs and restaurants; content creators and volunteers to submit their names, contacts and areas of specialty to us, so that they can be involved in all that we have to achieve.”
Consul General to Miami Curt Hollingsworth added that the Bahamian diaspora is “looking forward” to being a part of the celebrations.
“We have programs already lined up and we will use the template of the National Independence Secretariat to ensure that the Bahamian diaspora throughout our jurisdictions become a part of this exciting movement,” said Hollingsworth.
“Just recently, a section of Coconut Grove was renamed Little Bahamas, and so when you go into Miami, now, you can go look for Little Bahamas. So, you can imagine that we will be having a Junkanoo rushout in Little Bahamas and, of course, the diaspora throughout the Miami area.”
Also in attendance were Permanent Secretary to the Governor General Jack Thompson, Superintendent of the Road Traffic Department Paul Cash, Donovan “Jay” Rolle of Jay Fitness, and Kandice Eldon, co-chair of UB Fit with Marcel Major, past president of Bahamas Roadmasters and Bahamas Half.
The public is advised to avoid all major roads between the starting point at Clifford Park to the ending point at Fort Montagu on Saturday between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Miller-Brice also announced that a masterclass series is ongoing to educate the public leading up to Independence Day, with the second class, also commencing on Saturday, to feature Arlene Nash-Ferguson and Philip Burrows, under the theme “Our cultural expression”.