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An awesome display of national pride

Published: Jul 12, 2013

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Dear Editor,

Let me be the first to say that Bahamian national pride is alive and well today in The Bahamas. The awesome production at Clifford Park on the evening of July 9, and the early morning of July 10, certainly proved this.

I did not arrive at the production on time, but I saw a cultural display that was one for the ages. The dancing by participants to Junkanoo music and the police display with motorcycles and short play depicting a clear message that if you do a crime you will certainly be arrested were spectacular.

Additionally, I was excited to see the Royal Bahamas Defence Force play a more meaningful role in the independence parade. It showed some of its elite Commando Squadron officers in action, some of the physical training exercises that need to be perfected before passing out as a marine and the force’s drill team put on a performance I thought was drilling at its best.

One of my favorite highlights on Clifford Park was seeing Priscilla Rollins on stage doing her rendition of her popular song “Independence Morning”. This was a first for me to see her live even though I had heard of her for most of my life. She is still as beautiful as ever. My biggest highlight was seeing Ronnie Butler, arguably the best Bahamian singer and entertainer ever. I mean, for this Bahamian legend to be on stage and singing in a wheel chair and visibly not well has to go down in history as one of the most memorable moments of our independence celebrations. On hearing him thank the Bahamian public for its love and support, my wife and I were brought to tears.

Let’s not forget Charles Carter – a media genius, historian and cultural giant – who introduced Butler. Carter’s contribution to our country certainly deserves honorable mention. The country needs a day just to celebrate him for his contribution to national development.

The local talent of Bahamian artists at the free concert was amazing. I can safely say that Bahamians were fully entertained. After the music concert was over, my family then proceeded to Bay Street to watch the Junkanoo rushout. Junkanoo is so entrenched in our culture now that you can’t have a big event without having the major groups perform. The Music Makers led the charge with a beautiful banner and, as always, they produced good music.

I became a little weary after being up since 4:30 a.m. the previous morning and headed on Parliament Street to catch a “shut eye”. But the sounds of the Valley Boys woke me up and brought me back on Bay Street. This was truly an epic performance of music and dance and if you were on Bay Street, you could not stand still. I saw supporters of One Family, Roots and the Saxons unable to control their urge to shake, dance and wave their flags when the Valley Boys performed.

I left shortly thereafter and did not get to hear the Saxons, but I, like thousands of Bahamians, left Bay Street with a deeper sense of national pride and even more pride in being Bahamian.

There will never be an event where everyone is satisfied and I am sure there will be criticisms far and wide. But the organizers of the pre-independence and independence celebrations certainly need to be commended for a job well done. What I saw at Clifford Park and Bay Street were awesome displays of national pride by a people, who despite their challenges, came together as one to show support for country.

Let’s keep this momentum so that we can propel ourselves to pressing onward and marching together to a common loftier goal.

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