Bahamas Press supports the renaming of the Paradise Bridge to the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge

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1908

Sir Sidney Poitier’s contribution to people of colour all over the world is far greater than any local contribution in the Bahamas!

The day has finally come to honour the Bahamian Mandela!

Nassau, Bahamas — It was a long time coming. We believe the idea is an illuminating one and we support all those who drive the argument to honour the Bahamian, Sir Sidney Poitier.

Those who oppose the selection of the candidate are simply ignorant of the facts and unaware of the contributions this iconic Hollywood star made towards tearing down the walls of separation around the world.

He was the pioneer who shattered the glass ceiling for actors of colour and opened the gates of change in the American film industry. His bloodline is traced back to his roots in Cat Island where today his daughter resides, building up the heritage of the family, and his brother is still a member of the Fox Hill Community.

This writer remembers the day when Sir Sidney knocked on the front door of our home, seeking permission to use a parking space as he made his journey on a tour right here in the capital.

I was star-struck, unlike most Bahamians who are not often moved by famous Hollywood stars who light up movie screens all over the world.

But this was different. This was Sir Sidney. The Bahamian Ambassador to Japan and the first African-American-Bahamian to receive an Academy Award in the film industry.

There I stood, frozen in my foot tracks, too mesmerized to know how to answer this larger than life historic figure standing in front of me. A tall black man who carried the history of many generations far away somewhere in Africa was right there, in front of me, and there was no camera or microphones to record the conversation.

It was a moment to pause, for I was standing before royalty, history and honour. In my mind he the Bahamian Mandela!

It felt as if our homestead was standing on the world stage and this great giant, this iconic figure known to the world was paying a special visit to our home.

And we were all honoured. But before I could have Sir Sidney leave his car in the driveway, I asked him to sign a Bible for my father’s Christmas present.

Graciously he obliged me and wrote: “Best Wishes Sir Sidney Poitier”.

And so today is a great day in the life of the Bahamas. The leaders of today are framing for generations to come – a moment in time. They are pausing to remember someone so larger than life. A man who continues to gather the nations. And so we join the country in paying this special salute.

Finally we are giving our own honour. We are respecting one of us! We are celebrating the accomplishments of a Bahamian man who was one of the iconic trailblazers on whose shoulders the next generation of actors stands.

This is honorable! This is good! This is cause for celebration and merriment!

We also in this piece hope the country would also pause and in the spirit of unity invite former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham to the ceremony to mark this momentous event.

As recorders of history, we all should equally be reminded of the fact that it was the former Prime Minister, who first in his first government, invited Sir Sidney to serve as Ambassador to Japan for the Bahamas.

No media should also allow this date of celebration to pass without reminder of the fact that it was Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham and his first FNM Government who conceived, planned and deliver the construction of this new Bridge we so cherish.

Ordinary Bahamians are shareholders in its profits and again this is something that cannot be hid under the bushel.

And so we join the Christie Administration for its thoughtful approach to welcome into the annals of history our story by celebrating one of the greatest sons that brought change throughout the world – Sir Sidney Poitier.

Clearly, this is a New Day!

This is good! This is right! This is the decent thing to do.

We are moving the Bahamas forward!