July 10 marked the 41st Bahamian Independence Day. South Abaco residents celebrated the holiday with church services, music, food, and more.
Several residents of South Abaco, which includes the settlements of Cherokee Sound, Casuarina Point, Bahama Palm Shores, Crossing Rocks, and Sandy Point began celebrating with an Independence service at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Sandy Point on July 6. The message was preached by Evangelist, Ruth Flowers, who based her sermon of ‘Peace and Love’ on this year’s theme for Independence ‘Celebrating our Culture, A Commitment to Peace’.
Flowers left the crowd with the message that “People these days are leaving the church out and putting politicians first.” This statement received a standing ovation. She stressed the point that “Politicians do not have the answers. It is not a case of FNM or PLP.”
Flowers went on to suggest that it would be a good thing if both flags were burnt and people would instead put the church first.
Independence messages from the Governor General of The Bahamas and the Prime Minister were read by Administrator for South Abaco, Lavon Harris Smith. Local government representatives who attended the service remarked on what an excellent service it was.
The settlement of Crossing Rocks held its Independence celebration on July 8 with a party in the park. Administrator Smith was glad to see a good turnout for this celebration and felt that independence enthusiasm is “growing day by day.”
Frank Hepburn, who was the MC for the evening, welcomed everyone to the celebration, which he said was sure to be action packed.
Hepburn asked Pastor James Williams to open with a prayer. Administrator Smith then welcomed everyone and read the independence message from the Governor General. The chairpersons for the districts in the South introduced their board members for the next three-year period and Chief Councillor, Sean Roberts, presented the councilors for the South.
Entertainment at Crossing Rocks began with a performance of the song ‘Celebration’ by a large group of young people from the Crossing Rocks community. Following that performance was the highlight of the evening, which everyone had been waiting for, the parading of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band up and down a section of the community’s central street.
This was a history making performance on Abaco, because for the first time the Police Force Band was joined by members of the Defense Force Band and the Prison Officers Band. This was also a very special occasion for the Crossing Rocks community since the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band had only ever performed there once before many, many years ago.
The band was directed by Inspector Seldon Adderley and led by Drum Major Cpl 2842 Antoine Knowles, both of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. They opened the parade, with fanfare, to “Independence Bahamas” and included other favourites such as “Abaco Tiger” and “Raise your Flag.”
Each year the drummers are usually featured in a special display and this year was no exception. At one point the three side drummers, each representing one of the three different uniformed bands, came forward, knelt on the ground, and instead of the usual display of dexterity with sticks, they gave a bongo drumming demonstration which the audience enjoyed.
Following the street parade, the band marched up to the flagpole on the school grounds where they played the patriotic hymn “I vow to thee my country.” During the hymn the flag was hoisted up the flagpole by Sgt 331 Christopher Moss. The audience then sang the National Anthem and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
After the formalities were over, the band led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday Bahamas”. Festivities continued throughout the evening with people enjoying the delicious array of foods that were on sale.