NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas congratulates Jamaica on its 50th Anniversary of Independence, encouraging that Caribbean country to continue its course toward the good of all its citizens.Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell said well wishes as he addressed the Thanksgiving Service for Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, August 5, 2012. The Hummingbirds Association organised the service.
Simultaneously in London, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won the 100-metre race, which he ran in 9.63 seconds, an Olympic record.
With its theme: “A Nation on a Mission”, Mr. Mitchell encouraged Jamaica to continue on that trend, as it was the first nation in the English-Speaking Caribbean to achieve Independence on August 6, 1962.
He said the bond between The Bahamas and Jamaica stretched back to 1973, the year of this country’s Independence. These links however, he said does not overshadow those stretching well into the 19th Century.“With these links come a significant contribution to the international and domestic governance of a modern Bahamas,” he said.
One link being the story of the late Sir Lynden Pindling the “Father of the Nation”, whose father was a Jamaican who came to this country and joined the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Another link being that of newly-appointed Bahamas High Commissioner to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) His Excellency Picewell Forbes, who was educated at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He also became the first Bahamian elected President of the Students’ Guild.
“We hope to continue to forge more ties with the people of Jamaica through the establishment of a Bahamas Consulate in Kingston, both to serve Bahamian interests in Jamaica and better foster and grow this essential bilateral relationship,” Mr. Mitchell said.
Referring to the Independence theme, “A Nation on a Mission”, he said it is especially applicable to both countries this year. Jamaica, in becoming the first Commonwealth Caribbean nation to achieve independence from Great Britain, has been the vanguard of former British colonies on the march to self-determination, self-rule and independence.He also noted that in The Bahamas’ first political party, the Progressive Liberal Party, was formed in 1953 after its leaders visited Jamaica and obtained lessons and insight from leaders there.
The recent election of a female Head of Government also underlines the Independence theme and displays the political party maturity of Jamaican society and the respect commanded by women in Jamaica, he said.
According to Mr. Mitchell, The Bahamas similarly is “A Nation On A Mission”; to increase direct foreign investment, prepare its youth and professionals to be globally competitive, and to reform its internal systems to promote equality and sustainability.
“While facing the challenges of national development, we hope to advance to become as world-renowned as Jamaica in terms of music, culture, academia and sports, as well as domestic and international governance,” he said.The way forward as independent nations has not been easy for both countries, he said.
“Now more than ever Caribbean states must come together, much like the Jamaican motto: ‘Out of Many, One People” Mr. Mitchell said. He added that Bahamian and Jamaican athletes celebrate together the joy of sports at the Olympics; for common interest lie in regional advancement.
“Issues of climate change and natural disaster risk reduction, aid and bolstering the economic pillars of our economies continue to dominate political discourse,” Mr. Mitchell.
“However, I am that through dialogue and cooperation, both countries can learn from each other as these new challenges creep closer and overcome them as stronger, wiser nations,” he said.
Also present at the service were His Excellency Picewell Forbes, Bahamas High Commissioner to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Philip Miller, other government officials, Honorary Consul of Jamaica the Hon. Patrick Hanlan, members of the Diplomatic Corp. The Very Reverend Patrick Adderley, Dean and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral delivered the message. Reverend T G Morrison said the ‘Prayer for the Nation’.