Prime Minister Davis’s Remarks at the 50th Anniversary of Independence Gala

Your Excellency President Paul Kagame of The Republic of Rwanda,

Fellow Prime Ministers, Premier, Vice-Chairman and Deputies of Bermuda, The People’s Republic of China, Grenada, and Turks and Caicos…

Rt. Hon. Patricia Baroness Scotland, Secretary-General of The Commonwealth,

Members of The Diplomatic Corps and Ambassadors from The Czech Republic, Nigeria and Ukraine,

Honourable Ministers and Members of the Judiciary, Legislature and other Senior Government Officials,

Reverend Members of The Clergy,

Honoured and Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

What a pleasure it is to welcome you to this Independence Gala, this evening of joyful celebration in honour of our Golden Jubilee!

I am especially pleased to welcome our honoured guests from overseas, some of whom have travelled from more than half a world away, to represent and bring the good wishes and support of their government and people.

Welcome, welcome to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

For some it may be your first visit.

We pray that it certainly will not be your last.

Our beautiful islands and our cultural embrace need more than a single visit. I hope that you can spend time meeting our people.

More than anything, time spent with them will help you understand why we continue to say that “it’s better in The Bahamas’.

Fifty years ago, Prime Minister Lynden Pindling stood before the countries of the world, gathered at the United Nations in New York, and petitioned that our newly-born Commonwealth of The Bahamas be accepted and recognised, as an equal.

Now, fifty years later, the world comes to The Bahamas.

Look how far we’ve come!

I am also extremely pleased to welcome you, my fellow Bahamians, from around the archipelago, and from all walks of life.

Fifty years on, and the rights and freedoms now guaranteed to you under our sovereignty, reflect the long effort to dismantle the tyrannies and oppression of the past. 

It’s all there, proclaimed in the preamble to our Constitution: 

“We the Inheritors of and Successors to this Family of Islands, recognizing the Supremacy of God and believing in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM IN SOLEMN PRAISE the Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation…”

Look how far we’ve come!

My Friends: Tonight, and over the course of the next few days, our past meets our future. 

The achievements and progress of the past 50 years are the foundation upon which we will build our future.

That future is reflected in each one of you, in every single person in the communities you hail from, and in the role you each have to play in securing our national development.

We may disagree as we battle through the frustrations and challenges of this present age, but underneath, “all of we is one family, all of we is one”.

We have built from scratch, our own public institutions that are now the fabric of governance in the country.

This is a collective achievement, and the irrefutable response to those who doubted we could manage our own affairs.

And so, we are now required to strengthen and develop and improve those institutions, to make them better suited to dealing with the bigger aspirations and more worrying challenges of this time.

We’ve come this far – and we can and will go further.

We have produced Bahamians who have excelled in every area of life.

In sport and the arts, in the professions and trades and services, Bahamians have reached Olympian heights.

My Friends: Look, look at how far we’ve come.

And now, we call on Bahamians everywhere to play their part in our national future.

Be all you can.

Do all you can.

And let us do it all together.

I know what is possible.

I know what this country has done for me.

Fifty years ago, that little boy from Cat Island who started with so little, had grown into a young man.

For him, as the aquamarine, black and gold of flag was raised aloft, so were his hopes and opportunity for a better future.

Fifty years later, and that little boy has grown into a leader, charged by his people to help make their lives better, to expand their opportunities so that each of us can become our best selves.

Deep in my heart, this is the kind of country I want for everyone.

This is the kind of potential and possibility we must make into reality.

We have come this far through God’s mercy and grace.

He is still with us.

We pray his blessings upon us as we continue to build our one nation, celebrate our legacy, and strive endlessly to secure our best future.

In a few moments, I will invite you to join me in a toast to our beloved country.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, please, ready your glasses.

As we look around the 700 islands, rocks and cays that make up our beautiful country, let us give God thanks.

From Nassau to Inagua… Bahamas.

From Freeport to Mayaguana… Bahamas.

Golden Anniversary… Bahamas.

Happy Independence… Bahamas.

So now, please join me in raising your glasses.

A toast!

Here’s to our beautiful, colourful, blessed, determined, resilient, vibrant, abundant, energetic, optimistic, beloved Bahamas.

Happy Independence Bahamas!