Members of The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) in Freeport, Grand Bahama were in for a treat last Tuesday with the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, presenting a lecture at BNT’s Annual General Meeting at the Rand Nature Center. At the meeting, Commodore Bethel shared unique insights on the history and heritage of The Bahamas taken from his book, The Lucayan Story: The Indigenous People of The Bahamas; Turks and Caicos Islands. Prior to his lecture, Commodore Bethel gave the audience an overview of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force short and long-term strategies to address current and future maritime security challenges confronting the country. In attendance at the meeting were the Deputy Executive Director, Mrs. Lynn Gape, leaders and members of The Bahamas National Trust in Grand Bahama. During the lecture, Commodore Bethel stated that the world’s longstanding quest for peace eventually led ancient civilization to the shores of The Bahamas in the persons of the Lucayans. He stated that the peaceful Lucayans were “the first to settle The Bahama island-chain, the first to welcome Christopher Columbus to the New World and the first to suffer total genocide at the beginning of a modern era for the Americas." Noting that the first historical record of genocide within the Americas originating from Bahamian shores, Commodore Bethel suggested that Bahamians were left with an “inherent responsibility” to do their part to make the world a more peaceful place.
He further shared how The Bahamas, as the gateway to the New World & for European explorers, became the springboard for the founding of the modern Americas. Commodore Bethel also stated that " every modern nation that exists within the Americas today came out of the geographical womb of The Bahamas" as a result of Columbus’ first landfall in the New World taking place on Bahamian shores. He highlighted that this historic feat made The Bahamas “the birthplace of the modern Americas.” The engaged audience was also informed that the waters of The Bahamas were central to the settling of The Bahama Islands by the Lucayans and the unfolding of the modern Americas thereafter. While other bodies of waters within the Americas were given unique identities, Commodore Bethel pointed out that the historic waters that gave birth to the modern Americas have remained nameless, although millions the world over boast of their natural beauty. Commodore Bethel proposed that the waters of The Bahamas be given a name that embodies the history and heritage of The Bahamas and one that reminds Bahamians of their inherent responsibility to foster peace. He, therefore, proposed that these waters be named, the Lucayan Sea and that Grand Bahamians should be at the forerunners of this proposition with famous landmarks such as Port Lucaya, the Lucayan National Park, and the Grand Lucayan Waterway that are all associated with Lucayan history. By promoting The Bahamas as the ‘birthplace of the modern Americas,’ and with Bahamians committed to peace, and by naming their waters the Lucayan Sea, Commodore Bethel believes that Bahamians would be reclaiming a much-overlooked dimension of their national heritage—a name that could become the center of attraction for the Americas with the potential to create employment opportunities for many Bahamians throughout the country. The evening lecture closed out with members of The Bahamas National Trust expressing keen interest in The Bahamas’ unique heritage and their support for naming the waters of The Bahamas, the Lucayan Sea.