In a ceremony befitting royalty, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General, and Chancellor conferred national honours on 34 distinguished Bahamians Monday, October 8, 2018, for their contributions to the development of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. With ladies adorned in classy hats and elegant dresses, men in sharp suits, and classical music perfectly suited to Mount Fitzwilliam, Government House, the “historic” ceremony was conducted as prescribed in the National Honours Act, for National Heroes Day. In a special ceremony, on August 23, 2018, national honours were conferred upon the Most Honourable Sir Orville Turnquest and the Most Honourable A.D. Hanna, both former Governors-General. Today, family, friends, well-wishers, members of the religious community and high-ranking government officials witnessed the two-hour ceremony which saw the nation’s highest honours of the Order of National Hero, the Order of Nation, the Order of The Bahamas, the Order of Distinction, and the Order of Merit bestowed on the honorees.
Romel Shearer and Giovanni Clarke gave cello and flute musical performances respectively; Candace Bostwick, soprano, sang “He’s Got the Whole World”; and the song “God Bless Our Sunny Clime,” written by Rev. Dr. Philip Rahming was performed by various musicians. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band, the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, and C.H. Reeves Junior High School Band also provided entertainment. Permanent Secretary to the Office of the Governor-General, Mrs. Anita Beneby, described the ceremony as a “rite of passage” for the nation. She said the annual event marks “an important step in our transition from a British colony to a sovereign people. But more importantly, I believe that this morning’s ceremony, as well as the many that will follow, will elevate the minds of our people, our own worth and our dignity as a nation.” Mrs. Beneby said the vision of the late Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, former Prime Minister, has become a reality because of the sacrifice of the country’s finest warriors; “Amazons of vision, fighters of courage, warriors of steel … those who did not shrink from dirty hands; those with the imagination to create; persons with the strength of character to stare into the chilly teeth of the raging winds of change; soldiers without fear,” as Sir Lynden called them.
In her remarks, the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite said a national honour is the highest form of recognition and tribute that a sovereign government can bestow on those who have distinguished themselves as nation builders. She congratulated and commended all of the honourees, some of whom were recognized posthumously. “Their selflessness and high achievement serve as a clarion call to all Bahamians to pattern themselves accordingly so that we can all be of greater service to the nation we hold so dear and whose best interests we are all summoned to serve to the very best of our ability and with steadfast loyalty,” said Most Hon. Dame Marguerite. The Governor-General called on Bahamians to continue to uphold the virtues of love, mutual respect, and goodwill for one another that Bahamians have enjoyed throughout the ages. “These timeless virtues must continue to guide and direct our best effort as citizens of our Commonwealth.
“We must never set these virtues aside, nor subordinate them to self-centered pursuits that diminish our patriotic pride and deflect us from our sense of commitment to service. “Now more than ever, we need men and women, boys and girls, to join hearts and minds all across our beloved Bahamas so that a spirit of nation-building can flourish as never before, not only for the present but as a sure foundation for generations of Bahamians yet unborn.” Following the Investiture of National Honours ceremony, the Most Honourable Dame Marguerite inspected the Guard of Honour during a parade of the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces at the main entrance of Government House.
A reception followed on the terrace and upper gardens of Government House.
The following awards were formally conferred by the Governor-General:
THE ORDER OF NATIONAL HERO (awarded posthumously):
The Rt. Excellent Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, N.H., O.N., K.C.M.G.
The Rt. Excellent Sir Roland Theodore Symonette, N.H., K.B.
The Rt. Excellent Sir Milo Boughton Butler, N.H., G.C.M.G
The Rt. Excellent Sir Cecil Vincent Wallace-Whitfield, N.H., K.B.
THE ORDER OF THE NATION
The Most Honourable Sir Orville Turnquest, O.N., G.C.M.G.
The Most Honourable Dame Ivy Dumont, O.N., G.C.M.G.
The Most Honourable Arthur Hanna, O.N.
The Most Honourable Sir Arthur Foulkes, O.N., G.C.M.G.
The Most Honourable Sir Milo Butler, O.N., G.C.M.G.
The Most Honourable Sir Gerald Cash, O.N., G.C.M.G.
The Most Honourable Sir Henry Milton Taylor, O.N., K.B.
The Most Honourable Sir Clifford Darling, O.N., G.C.V.O.
Former Prime Minister:
The Most Honourable Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, O.N., K.C.M.G.
The Most Honourable Hubert Alexander Minnis, O.N., M.P.
THE ORDER OF THE BAHAMAS
The Rt. Honourable Janet Bostwick, C.B.
The Rt. Honourable Maurice Moore, C.B.
The Honourable Dame Doris Johnson, O.B., D.B.E. (posthumously)
Dr. Myles Munroe, M.B. (posthumously)
THE ORDER OF DISTINCTION
Mrs. Cynthia Pratt, C.D.
Mrs. Anita Bernard, C.D, C.M.G.
Mrs. Eileen Carron, C.D., C.M.G.
Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, O.D.
Mr. Lowell Mortimer, O.D., O.B.E.
Mr. Barry Rassin, O.D.
Mrs. Sandra Dean-Patterson, O.D.
Dr. Patrick David Roberts, O.D.
Mr. William Sands, D.M.
Mr. Robert Sweeting, D.M.
Dr. Bernard Nottage, D.M. (posthumously)
THE ORDER OF MERIT
The Reverend Canon. Sebastian Campbell, C.M.
Mrs. Pauline Davis-Thompson, C.M.
Monsignor Preston Moss, O.M.
The Reverend. Dr. J. Emmette Weir, O.M.
The Reverend Dr. Gary Curry, M.M.
The Reverend Walter Hanchell, M.M.
The Reverend Ervin Clarke, M.M. (posthumously)