By Jonnalee McIntosh
Communities throughout the North Abaco district came together to celebrate the country’s 46th year of Independence with a week of exciting activities under this year’s national theme: “United We Stand Bahamas, Together We Can.”
The North Abaco Independence Celebration opening event featured the first Little Miss Independence and Miss Independence North Abaco pageant. Eight young contestants from throughout the North Abaco district competed for the crown with their beauty, talent, intelligence, and patriotism.
The contestants began the week of activities with a motorcade throughout the North Abaco communities on Thursday July 4.
C’era Rolle, 14, from Mount Hope won the title of Miss Independence North Abaco and Demetria Edgecombe, 11, from Coopers Town became Little Miss Independence North Abaco.
Mr. Travis Robinson, Member of Parliament for Bain and Grants Town, delivered opening remarks on behalf of the North Abaco Member of Parliament, Mr Darren Henfield.
Guest performances included New Entry Band and Romeo McIntosh, recording artist from North Abaco.
McIntosh said: “It was wonderful performing in my hometown. It’s truly a privilege to display my talent in front of friends and family.”
On Saturday July 6, members of the community gathered on Coopers Town front street for a day of fun and games at The Independence Festival where food vendors sold Bahamian food, and popular Bahamian recording artists Julian Believe, and Stileet Stileeto delivered spectacular performances.
An Ecumenical Service was held at Friendship Tabernacle in Marsh Harbor on Sunday July 7.
North Abaco cays such as Green Turtle Cay and Grand Cay also hosted community events during the Independence week.
The celebration culminated with a gospel concert at Faith Walk Church of God on July 9, where the Bahamian flag was raised at midnight – celebrating the country’s 46 years of independence.
North Abaco Island Administrator Terrece Bootle- Laing said: “It was an impressive event, we spent quite a lot of time planning and we are quite happy with the response that we have gotten from members of the North Abaco community.”
By Canishka Alexander
The South Abaco Independence Committee, under the leadership of South Abaco Island Administrator Donald Rolle, planned several events in observance of The Bahamas’ 46th Independence Anniversary.
The committee’s first scheduled event was the “Journey of the Flag” on National Pride Day, July 5. The journey began from Sandy Point on to Crossing Rocks into Bahama Palm Shores and Casuarina Point, and ended in Cherokee Sound where a brief Flag Raising Ceremony was held.
Sgt. 531 Christopher Higgs was the chief escort, ensuring the safety of all athletes and paraders.
According to Principal Brenell Higgs, the children thoroughly enjoyed this experience and exposure as they visited various communities in South Abaco.
On July 6, the celebrations continued with a Fun Run Walk from Schooner Bay to Crossing Rocks beginning at 7 a.m. The event was supported by 30 plus persons including toddlers, youth and adults.
On hand was Nurse Damara McIntosh from the Sandy Point Clinic, who graciously administered free blood pressure, sugar and weight readings for all who were interested.
Participants received medals as they completed their journey. Moreover, everyone that participated enjoyed the great camaraderie afterward as they feasted on healthy snack packs and mouthwatering chicken souse served with cornbread.
The festive celebrations continued further over the weekend with a spirit-filled Ecumenical Church Service held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 3 p.m. on July 7.
During the service, Aliza Bain read the Governor General’s Message; Iesha Russell read the Prime Minister’s Message; Virgil Bain prayed for the nation’s youth; RC 349 Lowell Burrows prayed for The Bahamas; and Pastor Jason N. Roberts expounded on the Word of God in a powerful sermon.
“These young individuals certainly displayed a spirit of hope for the future of our country,” Principal Higgs admired.
Besides the students’ noteworthy contributions to the service, the praise team from St. Mark’s Baptist Church led by Eva Bain out of Crossing Rocks did an outstanding job bringing the audience members to their feet as they joined in with the upbeat praise selection.
Indeed, it was an honour and a sight to behold Bahamas Government representatives, members of the clergy, community stakeholders, parents, and guardians joined together as one in the Ecumenical Service celebrated under the theme: “United We Stand Bahamas, Together We Can.”
Additionally, the South Abaco Independence Committee had planned a basketball tournament in honour of Mr. James ‘Jimmy’ Greene on July 8 at the Sandy Point Ball Park, but because of inclement weather conditions, the event was postponed to a later date to be announced.
Nevertheless, all Abaco communities joined in a combined Grand Anniversary Celebration and Flag Ceremony at BAIC Park, Marsh Harbour on July 9 at 7 p.m. Finally, on July 10, each South Abaco township made plans to host an Independence Close-Out Fun Day.