50 Years of Majority Rule Celebrated

It was 50 years ago, on January 10, 1967 when a new era in governing The Bahamas – Majority Rule — was ushered in.  And 50 years later, the historic golden anniversary of the occasion was celebrated on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Bahamians, led by the governing Progressive Liberal Party took to the streets of New Providence and marched under the banner, “One People United in Love and Service.”

From as early as 7:00 a.m., scores of Bahamians assembled at Windsor Park on Wulff Road and East Street: some sporting T-shirts with the words “50 Years: Majority Rule – A Journey Together,” others had mini flags and other paraphernalia in the national colours of Aquamarine, Gold and Black.

Music provided by the Urban Renewal Marching Band of a medley of Bahamian songs and other international hits set the pace for participants who braved cool and windy weather conditions.  Participants were from all walks of life, including Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, government officials, and Bahamians young and old.

From Windsor Park, the parade traveled on to East Street north, and onwards to city centre, Bay Street at Rawson Square, where march participants encountered an impressive display of artistic renderings of those who were at the forefront of the Road to Majority Rule.

The march ended at the Southern Recreation Grounds – the historic meeting place where the Majority Rule movement and other important movements took shape.

A programme of celebration took place at the Grounds.

It began with a soul-stirring rendition of The National Anthem, March On Bahamaland by Alia Coley.

Rev. Dr. Phillip Rahming, author of the National Pledge of Allegiance, led the crowd in prayer and in reciting the Pledge.

A gospel segment followed, which seemed straight out of an old classic era of Bahamian Gospel, featuring the likes of the Rahming Brothers and Sister Rachel Mackey who, at nearly 80, used strong vocals to ring out the words, “If it wasn’t for the Lord, tell me where would we be….”

Among others who performed were Shaback and the Golden Gates Praise team, who led the crowd in the hymn, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.

During the programme, Archdeacon James Palacious delivered a call for Bahamians to be accountable, responsible in their decision-making in the formation of their destiny, their children’s, and ultimately that of the nation as it celebrated that important day, and yet looked towards the future.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, keynote speaker, underscored the importance of what Majority Rule meant for the entire country.

He said: “January 10th does not belong just to black Bahamians, nor just to PLPs, but to all Bahamians; it deserves to be elevated above the political fray, above the divisions in our society, so that we can all come together each year… in the context of a national holiday, to give thanksgiving for the heroic struggles of those fearless men and women who from one generation to the next carried, and then handed off, the baton of freedom until the relay was won on that glorious night 50 years ago.”

Majority Rule, leveling the playing field of opportunity for all Bahamians — came on January 10, 1967.   Along with Emancipation from Slavery and Bahamas Independence, the achievement of Majority Rule is a seen as one of the most important events in the history of The Bahamas.

To mark its significance, Majority Rule Day became a Public Holiday in 2014.

Celebrations continued in the afternoon at Arawak Cay – concerts by popular bands and choirs, and Junkanoo Rush Out fanfare.

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