Independence Day Message From Prime Minister Perry Christie

On behalf of the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and on my own behalf, and that of my wife, Bernadette, and our family, I extend warm greetings and best wishes to my fellow citizens, the wonderful people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of our independence.

The passage of time has in no way dampened the sensations of patriotism and national pride that we, as Bahamians, always feel each year as July 10 draws near and even more so when the day itself comes round. 2016 is no exception. This year, we will be experiencing new ways to celebrate and honour the proud heritage of Independence Day observance – this time under the thematic banner: “Honouring our People’s Excellence”.

It is appropriate that we should do so. It is undeniable that over the past 43 years, our nation and its people have made great strides towards becoming a more prosperous and socially just society for all. For such a small nation and comparatively tiny population, there is so much in the form of measurable, impactful contributions to nation-building that must be credited to the people of our country whose passion for excellence I cannot applaud enough.

It is therefore both right and timely that we should pause at this milestone to reflect upon our collective accomplishments to date even as we set our sights on new horizons. These accomplishments have covered a wide and diverse swath of effort and high achievement in so many areas of national life: in commerce, in the professions and trades, in religion, in community uplift, in the care of the poor, the elderly and indigent, in the public service, in the arts, in sports and culture, in education, science, and technology, to name just a few.

When one reflects on where we were in 1973 and where we are today in these areas of national endeavour, even the most cynical and jaded of critics must concede how far we have come in such a remarkably short time.

The spirit of excellence of which I write also pervades the everyday lives of our citizenry, producing in the process exemplary fathers and mothers about whom we hear too little in the media and public discourse. This is unfortunate because amidst all the negative, naysaying noise in the market, the most important part of nation building is quietly but inexorably playing out daily in homes and neighbourhoods all across our country.

This is where we will find the true heroes and heroines of the modern Bahamas, those who are doing their part to raise good families that lay stress on the virtues of integrity and good character, mutual support and teamwork, mutual respect and goodwill towards all, peaceful conflict resolution, discipline in the pursuit of common goals, and generosity and unselfishness in reaching out to others who are in urgent need of love, compassion and a helping hand in hard times.

Such are the values that build not only families and neighbourhoods but entire nations as well.

I hope, therefore, that we will redouble our personal commitment as citizens of this beloved nation of ours so that next year this time we can all look back and see where we made a positive difference in the quality of life of our families, our neighbourhoods, and our nation.

If we can each do that, just think how much better we can become as a people and as a nation.

Let us move in confidence to embrace that challenge even as we rise in unity to meet the myriad (of) other challenges that continue to face us as a people, especially in the areas of economic uplift and respect for law and order.

Yes, we have so much to be proud of, so much to be thankful for, but there is still so much unfinished work that lies before us. Let’s band together, therefore, to get the job done, dedicating our best efforts to the glory of God and the continued betterment of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Happy Birthday Bahamas!

See today’s 43rd anniversary of Independence supplement

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