NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said on October 12, 2015, that there are concrete plans underway to ensure that there is an institutionalized honouring of National Heroes, including the finalization of a National Heroes Honour.
“I expect that when we meet in January, on Majority Rule Day (January 10, 2016), that legislation will be in full effect and being implemented — and I should say this about it: The Government, the heroes committee, the people of our country will have to buy into the National Honours and we have to make those honours very, very special,” Prime Minister Christie at the National Heroes Day Ceremony, at Botanical Gardens.
“We have to have to pomp and pageantry associated with it,” Prime Minister Christie pointed out. “It must be seen and felt by the people of our country that this is a major, defining intervention that will last forever and forever and forever.”
Among those present for the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell; Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Dr. Danny Johnson; Minister of Financial Services the Hon. Hope Strachan; Minister of State for National Security Sen. the Hon. Keith Bell; Chairman of the National Parks Authority Senator Greg Burrows; Acting Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Tellis Bethel; Chairman of the National Heroes Committee Rev. Canon S. Sebastian Campbell; cultural icon Mr. Freddie Munnings, Jr.; and other stakeholders.
Prime Minister Christie added that those who were heroes for the nation before Independence, such as Pompey, will now be considered for recognition under the newly-amended proposed legislation, as well as those who are citizens of The Bahamas through naturalization and migration.
Prime Minister Christie congratulated the National Heroes Committee and commended it on its role in fostering the view in The Bahamas that it is important to recognize those in society “whose lives have made a difference and can be seen as sources of inspiration for future generations of Bahamians.”
Prime Minister Christie also said that by the next Majority Rule Day a National Park will be identified that would also celebrate the legacy of Bahamian National Heroes.
“The Government of The Bahamas has passed legislation specifically for the creation and establishment of parks,” Prime Minister Christie stated. “A part of the mandate of the Minister responsible for the Environment and the Chairman of the National Parks Authority, Senator Greg Burrows — who is here — is to find that place that will be deemed to be a Heroes Park.”
“Consideration has to be given as to whether or not our heroes would be buried there; so it is just not ‘a park’,” Prime Minister Christie said.
He also pointed out that a number of locations were put forth by various stakeholders for the location of such a park, including Clifton and the eastern precinct of the Botanical Gardens.
“The Government will make that decision before January 10,” Prime Minister Christie said. “We will do it on a shared basis — meaning that the Government will not impose its will upon those who have laboured long in trying and agitating in getting us to do the right thing.
“We will share the approach, allow you to participate; but I can tell you today, the decision will be made before the end of the year, so when I speak on January 10th — by the grace of God — I will be able to say, ‘So said. So done’.”