NASSAU, The Bahamas – For the 49th time the aquamarine, gold and black Flag was hoisted at historic Clifford Park ushering in another year of Independence of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, under the theme: “Proud To Be Bahamian”.
It was also the first time in two years that the country was able to assemble at Clifford, as the COVID-19 pandemic prevented such a rich historic tradition from happening.
On Saturday, July 9, 2022 all roads led to that spot where, looking back, at the dawn of July 10, 1973, a memorable ceremony took place to celebrate the birth of a new nation as it shed its colonial ties to Great Britain.
His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith, Governor General, and Lady Smith, followed by Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis and Mrs. Ann Marie Davis, headed the list of VIPs and hundreds from the wider public who assembled at the park, Fort Charlotte and vicinity, for the anniversary celebrations.
Just as dusk settled to a bright orange colour in the west, the first segment, the Independence Ecumenical Services kicked off with members of The Bahamas Christian Council participating in various aspects.
Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander delivered the sermon, during which he referred to Clifford Park as the place where it all started; how God “pushed” The Bahamas into Independence without any riot or incident. He urged Bahamians to lift up each other and use their collective talents for the greater good.
“I came to give us a good dose of help that God has brought us [safely] this far” he said, adding that “Through God’s help we will make it.”
Prayers went up for all aspects of the nation including government, church leaders, and judiciary and law enforcement, economic recovery, global health, protection from calamities and disasters, the family, marriage and children.
The second segment was that of the Independence Cultural Extravaganza. It was a production that took spectators and broadcast audience on a journey of a young Bahamian who became disillusioned with The Bahamas, and felt “The Bahamas is not a real place”. As relatives convinced him of the opposite, the messages were further enhanced with electrifying performances from some of the best Bahamian entertainers/singers who sang and danced about the uniqueness of the Bahama Islands.
The final segment showcased a parade by members of the uniformed branches and the Inspection conducted by the governor general accompanied by newly installed Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander, Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Dr. Raymond King, and other officers.
At midnight, a Flag Raising Ceremony took place, during which the Bahamian Flag was hoisted to meet the dawn of Independence Day, July 10. Following the flag-raising ceremony was performance of the National Anthem by members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force bands. Fireworks capped of the celebrations. However an Independence drone light show – a first ever in The Bahamas and much to the excitement of spectators — certainly paved the way for Jubilee Independence Anniversary Celebrations. A National Independence Committee was formed with Her Excellency Leslia Miller-Brice as Chair for the 49th, 50th, and 51st Independence Celebrations.