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The divine call in being Bahamian

The national identity 40 years after independence
Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 03, 2013

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Even with 40 years of independence under the country’s belt, it is often said that many Bahamians do not fully appreciate the wonder and value of the nation and see foreign things as better.

This is seen in the proliferation of foreign artists who dominate airplay on most Bahamian radio stations, the lack of appreciation for Bahamian talent and the quickness in which Bahamians tear down and criticize the country when things don’t go perfectly.

During a sermon yesterday at St. Agnes Parish, Rector and Archdeacon I. Ranfurly Brown used the opportunity to remind parliamentarians and other Bahamians of the importance of appreciating one’s heritage.

The service was held to commemorate the 284th anniversary of Parliament in The Bahamas.

“The call today is for every Bahamian to understand the need for each of us to become a standard bearer in this country,” he said.

“To commit oneself to understand the need to bear the identity of this country and to promote everything that’s Bahamian.”

Brown said while we should appreciate Bahamian uniqueness, we must also pass this appreciation on to future generations.

He explained that the country is like the human body, made up of small and large parts that perform different functions that are equally important.

When one of these parts, no matter how small, breaks down it causes problems for everyone, Brown said.

He said this outlook should show people how important their differences are and how their actions effect society as a whole.

“The Bahamian standard bearer must be quite aware of his difference, the peculiarity of the people, not to mention the members of Parliament, and for everybody to be proud of our difference.  All of us must realize that difference is valuable, difference makes you important,” Brown said.

“But it’s because of one small member not doing its part, one small member who has not accepted the fact that it’s different, therefore it’s valuable, therefore it ought to do what it has been created and ordained to do; and as little as it is, it causes the whole body [to shut down].

“So difference is important, that’s why I get angry when I hear all this [Jamaican] foolishness I hear on Bahamian radio and have announcers who do not know anything about The Bahamas.”

Brown also lamented the fact that many Bahamians do not know basic facts of Bahamian history.

“We are at this level of growth and sovereignty so we must understand the divine call and responsibility in being Bahamian.  Accept what is Bahamian, promote what is Bahamian, be Bahamian and never let the standard fall because we are unique and we ought not compromise,” he said.

“It is interesting that some of us still are ignorant as to what is ours.  What is our national flower?  What is our national bird?  Who wrote our national anthem?  Who designed our coat of arms? All these things should be basic primary information we all should have.”

After 40 years as a sovereign nation, Brown said this is the time for Bahamians to acknowledge and appreciate the country’s value.

“We need to know who we are and promote who we are because the best country in this world is The Bahamas,” he said.

Brown also urged parliamentarians to create mechanisms and policies to properly recognize leaders – such as the country’s first Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling – who paved the way.

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