Locals of Central Abaco celebrated the 41st Bahamas Independence anniversary on July 9 at the Murphy Town Park.
Members of the Independence Committee worked throughout the day, making the preparations and setting up tents for the public and for the vendors, in spite of the torrential rain that fell most of the day. The organizers for this event kept their optimism, although the rain didn’t cease until 7 pm. However, the skies completely cleared an hour later and allowed for the celebration to start.
A large tent sheltered a panel of officials who included the MP for North Abaco, Mr. Renardo Curry, Administrator Preston Cunningham, District Superintendent of Education, Dr. Lenora Black, and Chief Councillor George Cornish to mention just a few. The tent also housed electronic equipment technicians, as well as a good number of spectators who had arrived early to secure chairs and shelter under the largest tent.
The entertainment this year was very mellow and relaxed. It was more of a spiritual convention, since the first two hours of the gathering featured prayers by several local pastors, topped with a sermon by Reverend Stephen Knowles, President of the local chapter of the Bahamas Christian Council.
The remainder of the evening, before the flag-raising at midnight, was dedicated to the reading of the Prime Minister’s address, as well as the Governor General’s address and remarks by the Member of Parliament, the Chief Councillor, and the Administrator. They all praised the local culture and the “joie de vivre” of the Bahamian people and advocated peace.
MC Paul Knowles, a teacher at Central Abaco Primary School, orchestrated the second part of the evening which comprised several cultural performances by students and teachers from various schools of Central Abaco. There was free dancing by Kerneisha Curry (ACH), an interpretation of a passage from “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Kirkland McIntosh (ACH), a trumpet solo by Diego Paul (ACH), the reading of a poem by the late Maya Angelou done by Christopher Sawyer (ACS), a solo by Ronnell Escarment (ECC) and a skit by four CAPS faculty members, titled “Whence we came from”.
The Royal Police Marching Band put on a great demonstration that was later followed by a deployment of the combined Armed Forces of The Bahamas, Police and Defense Force Officers and Rangers who marched around the field, drilling and standing at attention while Mr. Curry inspected the ranks.
The message from the religious congregation was to strive for peace; to forget and forgive and to unite in order to form a stronger country. The pastors asked for divine guidance for the politicians and Reverend Knowles pointed out to the problems that plagued the modern Bahamian society. He went on to address the role of father’s and children in family and society.
Reverend Knowles asked the assembly to gather in front of the stage, holding hands in a demonstration of peace. He invited the group to join Reverend David Cartwright who, with the other church heads present, prayed for a re-commitment to family values and a change in the culture.
ACH graduate Kirkland McIntosh, read the Prime Minister’s message. The Hon. Perry Christie had named 2014 The Year of Culture, asking to pay tribute to all the cultural icons of the country, whether they be musicians, painters, or dancers. The Governor General, Lady Marguerite Pindling, advocated to strive for peace.
To close off the night, Mr. Renardo Curry, flanked by two policemen, stood by as the Bahamian flag was raised up the pole. Immediately following this was a patriotic display of fireworks.