Independence is a day that should not be taken lightly, and Bahamians should not only think about those who fought for it, but whether they themselves display their pride in being Bahamian. This was asked of by Minister of Social Services and Urban Development and Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, the Hon. Obadiah Wilchcombe on Friday, July 8 at the West Grand Bahama District Flag Raising Ceremony.
Held under the theme “Proud To Be Bahamian” Minister Wilchcombe referred to January 1, 1973 when Sir Lynden Pindling asked all Bahamians to hold hands. Said Minister Wilchcombe: “We are here holding hands now, and together as a country we have held hands and that is why 49 years later Bahamians of all walks of life, from all places are saying, ‘I’m proud to be a Bahamian’.”
The church is fundamental, he continued, because The Bahamas is a praying nation.
“West End is the capital of Grand Bahama. On the eve of Independence there were two men who insisted that the first flag of an independent nation be lifted here.”
The late Anthony Grant, a reserve Police Officer, and former Senator Austin Grant lifted the flag on that occasion.
“They wanted it to be recognized that this community of fierce fighters and loyalists believed in the Independence movement. That they wanted this island to always have its rightful place, this settlement in particular, to play a meaningful role in the new day of Independence.”
The Minister said he celebrated those gentlemen because many in attendance are too young to remember the struggles, talks and difficulties the people of the country suffered leading up to Independence.
In the book of Leviticus, it says on the 10th day of the seventh month, it is the day of atonement, and that day was chosen by meaning and not by chance.
“The day of atonement, meaning the day of repentance. Atonement meaning reflection, atonement meaning forgiveness, atonement meaning looking at where we are and pausing for that very brief moment if you will, to see and to analyze your human mistakes and to look at and remember those who passed on and made their contribution for us to move forward.”
Minister Wilchcombe said the day “should never be taken lightly, we should never make that mistake. We must always see the day as being very important and all Bahamians must stop for that day just to look at it, just to analyze and to give thanks.”
Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama, Iram Lewis, said Grand Bahama residents faced challenges over the past three years, head on, united and stronger than ever.
“Have you ever wondered why the rest of the country refers to us as resilient? It is because in Grand Bahama, no matter what we are faced with we lift up our heads and yes, march onto glory with our banners waving high.” He said there are so many reasons to be Proud to be Bahamian. Mr. Lewis urged residents to share with the youth what it really means to be Proud To Be Bahamian – cuisine, culture, hospitality and genuine pride in the country.
By: Robyn Adderley
Bahamas Information Services
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