The 45th Independence Cultural Extravaganza and Flag Raising Ceremony was held under the theme – “Celebrate Bahamas: We’ve Come This Far by Faith” – at the BAIC Park on July 9.
The Master and Mistress of Ceremony were Dikembe Wilkinson and Khalea Richard.
Bishop John McIntosh invoked the presence of the Almighty God over the gathering, while Kelia McKinney delivered an outstanding rendition of the National Anthem.
Next, Senior Deputy Family Island Administrator Maxine Duncombe was called to the podium with the welcome address. With a grateful heart, she welcomed all in attendance as she reflected on The Bahamas’ 45 years of independence, and how as a community we have come together to celebrate our accomplishments as a nation. She said while it has not been an easy road, our love for God and respect for one another has helped us to overcome.
The Murphy Town Community Choir graced the stage blending their voices together for two melodious selections just before remarks were made by MP for South Abaco James Albury, who also read the Prime Minister’s message. He, too, acknowledged how the Bahamian people have enjoyed tremendous success in the midst of struggles.
“I have the distinguished pleasure and privilege tonight to be delivering the Prime Minister’s address, but before I do so I’d hope you all indulge me just to take a moment to say how grateful and happy I am to be here tonight with all of you and how thankful we should all be for how far we’ve come.”
The Prime Minister’s address highlighted 45 years of our country’s sovereignty, and the inauguration of a system of national honours to recognize the outstanding contributions of our citizens. The message went on to give a brief history of The Bahamas before independence, emphasizing myriad accomplishments along the way for Bahamians both at home and abroad. It also addressed challenges like crime, health concerns and climate change that we must address.
As Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis’ address continued, he also commended our diplomatic officers and other representatives stationed overseas who perform essential work on behalf of our country.