Bermuda Celebrates Bahamas Independence

(left to right) Phyllis Joy-anne Albury-Garraway, visiting host of the Bahamas 50th Independence Gala Ball in Bermuda; Premier of Bermuda E. David Burt, JP, MP; Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell; and Simone Smith-Bean, Bermuda's Bahamian Association member

Bermuda celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Independence of The Bahamas in grand style by hosting a three-day event to honor the ties between the two countries. Three long-standing Bahamians living in Bermuda were honored during the festivities: 97 year-old Dr. Bert McPhee, Wilamena “Bucky” Smith, and Lenora Carey. The events helped to solidify ties that date all the way back to 1648, when a group which became known as the Eleutheran Adventurers left Bermuda in search of religious freedom and ended up in The Bahamas. They were the first settlers of The Bahamas since the time of the Lucayans.Festivities began with a historical and cultural event held Friday, June 30, hosted by Bermuda’s Premier, David Burt. The event featured speaker Tina Evans-Harvey, daughter of the late Dame Lois Browne-Evans. Dame Louis became friends with the father of the Bahamian nation, Sir Lynden O. Pindling during their days in college. She gladly accepted the invitation to attend the Bahamas’ Independence Day, July 10, 1973. Tina was 11 years-old at the time, and recalled the thrill of being at the celebrations. The evening was highlighted by performances by H&H Gombeys, showcasing Bermuda’s culture, Rush Culture, showcasing Bahamian Junkanoo culture.On Saturday, July 1, a Gala Ball at the Rosewood Bermuda celebrated the honorees and brought out Bermuda’s elite along with Bahamians living in Bermuda for an evening of fine dining and celebration.

The ball was hosted by Phyllis Joy-Ann Albury-Garraway who, along with her husband, attended all activities and enjoyed meeting with Bermudans and sharing Bahamian culture. Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell was the keynote speaker.Mr. Mitchell shared at length history between the two countries and stated that bonds would only grow stronger in the future.“Our ties are so close, and we are always in each other’s backyards,” Mr Mitchell said.“I really have a sense of pride about our country and the respect which you hold for the Bahamas. On behalf of our Prime Minister, I would like to express our deep thanks for hosting this weekend of events.”The three-day celebration wrapped up with a church service at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Sunday, July 2. According to Shervonne Cash-Hollis, organizer of the events, this church shares ties with Holy Trinity Anglican Church in New Providence. Born in The Bahamas, she moved to Bermuda in 2001, but continued to inject Bahamian culture into activities wherever she went. After coming up with the idea to do something special to honor the ties between the two countries, Mrs. Cash-Hollis worked with permanent Secretary Jack Thompson, Bahamas National Independence Secretariat, to arrange Bermuda’s festivities. An entire Bahamian Association has been formed, and more events will be planned to keep giving Bahamians in Bermuda a taste of their culture.

Source: Felicity Darville

More photo highlights below:

Dr. Bert McPhee (center), a descendant of Exuma and long time Bermuda resident, is a 97 year-old honoree. He is pictured with his wife and daughters, as well as Phyllis Joy-anne Albury-Garraway, host of the gala ball, and Peter Garraway

honoree Wilamena “Bucky” Smith receives her award from Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell during the Gala Ball at the Rosewood Bermuda to celebrate Bahamian Independence

(left to right) Phyllis Joy-anne Albury-Garraway; Delroy Meadows, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Shervonne Cash-Hollis, organizer of Bermuda’s celebrations for the Bahamas Golden Jubilee

Minister Fred Mitchell with Minister Walter Roban, Bermuda’s Minister of Home Affairs