The late Dame Dr. Doris Johnson, a Bahamian teacher, suffragette, politician and leader in the Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas, led the list of honourees to receive awards during the 2023 Investiture of National Honours Monday, October 9. She received the Order of National Hero (posthumously) which is given to a Bahamian who has made seminal contribution to The Bahamas and altered the course of the country’s history in a positive way.
Governor General Her Excellency the Most Honourable Cynthia A. Pratt, Chancellor of Societies of Honour, conferred awards under the National Honours Act to citizens of The Bahamas and foreign nationals who have given exemplary service to the country.
In the first of two ceremonies, the Governor General conferred medals and insignias (some posthumously) for the Order of National Hero, Order of The Bahamas, Order of Excellence and Order of Distinction on recipients in various areas including business, journalism, religion, law, law enforcement, medicine religion and the arts. A third National Investiture ceremony is scheduled.
High ranking government officials, members of the National Honours Advisory Committee, family, friends and well-wishers attended the three-hour events held at the Lower Grounds of Government House, Mount Fitzwilliam. Entertainment was provided by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, the choir of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, and Cameron Pratt, violinist.
The Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Advisory Committee for National Honours, recognized and thanked members of the committee for their “yeoman’s” service in building up the community of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
He recalled the history of the National Heroes Day struggle and the people who helped to create the holiday including Rev. Sebastian Campbell, the late Terence Bethel, the late Al Dillette, Freddie Munnings Jr., Rev. C.B. Moss, Maxwell Turner, Keod Smith and many others.
“Community is everything. You’ve helped to build up community. Please continue the work. We support you,” said Minister Mitchell.
Delivering the keynote address, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said, “Each name, each story is a chapter of the narrative of The Bahamas, a story of tenacity and unyielding commitment to nation building reflecting upon our rich history.”
He urged the audience to remember the “everyday” heroes among us. “The nurse at the hospital who provides the best care she can with limited resources, the PE teacher who spends his/her off duty hours coaching for free — developing the professional athletes of the future, the single mother who works multiple jobs and still somehow manages to take exceptional care of her home, and the young men and women who are faced with negative choices each day but choose instead to be a positive influence to their peers.
“All of these Bahamians in their own way contribute to the success of our nation. We must remember it is not the title that makes you a hero, the people who we are honouring today were worthy of their honour long before they received national honour.”
He also expressed thanks to the National Honours Advisory Committee as well as those who organized this year’s ceremony.
“You are the unsung heroes who made this all possible. Your efforts are noted and appreciated,” said the Prime Minister.
Source: KATHRYN CAMPBELL/Bahamas Information Services
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