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Palmetto Point softball park rekindled many memories

It was a grand occasion; sporting flavor could not be denied
FRED STURRUP
Nassau Guardian Columnist & Sales Executive
sturrup1504@gmail.com

Published: Jul 17, 2013

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Independence evening in Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, this past Wednesday, July 10, was rich in history.

The Palmetto Point Township staged a memorable program at the sports complex in that settlement. No sporting events were on the agenda, but the location was nostalgic. The occasion was the Township Independence Ecumenical Service, combined ceremonially with the saluting of national patriot, the Rev. Philip M. Bethel, the former government minister who is a native of Palmetto Point.

With chairperson Susan Culmer adding some historical background, spectators were treated to an excellent cultural display of dancing, singing, fashion show and skits. Malik Fox was an enchanting songbird. She sang the national anthem and performed a special tribute to the honoree. Charlotte Davis of the Peoples Restoration Baptist Church gave the opening prayer.

Elder Jason Thompson of Bible Truth Hall, rendered a moving sermon, reminding his audience not to forget “from whence they came.” On hand also were Area Administrator Charles King, Township Chairman Hank Johnson and his deputy chairman, Richard Sands. The high point of the affair was when Rev. Bethel responded to the outpouring of appreciation for his contribution to the development of Palmetto Point, the wider island of Eleuthera and nation building in general.

Rev. Bethel represented something unique for Palmetto Point. He is one of the remaining six framers of The Bahamas’ Constitution. (The others are Arthur Hanna, Loftus Roker, Sir Orville Turnquest, George Smith and Sir Arthur Foulkes). In December of 1972, they were members of a delegation led by the late Sir Lynden Pindling that traveled to London to discus The Bahamas’ Independence Constitution.

Palmetto Point, in honoring one of the framers of the constitution, brought attention to the significant roles they played. That’s a resume item that other independence events around the nation could not boast of. Rev. Bethel was true to form, enunciating the struggles because of the disagreement by some in the country with the Independent Movement. He recalled the incident of explosions being set off in resistance to the Independent Movement.

“They could have blasted as many times as they wished, it was not going to stop those of us who believed. Look where we are today, 40 years later. It’s a blessing,” said Rev. Bethel.

He paid tribute to the those who fought in the trenches and others who carried the banner out front to ensure that the “Bahamian people had an identity they could be proud of.” Rev. Bethel was also appreciative of “those who thought to honor me in this fashion.”

“I am grateful and on behalf of my wife, my children and grandchildren, I thank you,” he said.

It was a grand occasion for sure. It all happened however from a sporting backdrop that connects with the history of the island, perhaps in the minds of some, just as fundamentally as the birth of the nation back on July 10, 1973. Watching the proceedings from the basketball court where the seating was arranged, the sporting flavor could not be denied. While the entire agenda was enjoyable, one like Kingsley Bethel could not stop the rush of memories of the activities that took place on the softball field. He recalled the great pitching match-ups between the Palmetto Point Hornets and the Governor’s Harbour Hustlers.

Of course, he recalled the prodigious home-runs.

“Man, I remember one night Billy (Dave Mycklewhyte) hit one home-run over all the trees across the street from the field. Man, that was a shot,” reminisced Kingsley. Such is the magnitude of the sporting ingredient in Palmetto Point and all of Eleuthera, in fact. The program with the presence of one of the six living signees (there were 16) of the original Bahamian Independence document in London those many years ago, was auspicious indeed. The sporting connection nevertheless, made for an even more special mix of island history.

After all, the island of Eleuthera is more synonymous with softball than with pineapple.

(To respond to this feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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