Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with profound gratitude that I stand here today as a proud, proud Bahamian. Throughout this Jubilee year, our national pride has been palpable. We only get to celebrate our 50th Independence once, and we fully embrace the opportunity.
But our 50th year as a nation could not end without first bestowing honours on those who have helped to make our nation what it is today.
We are here to celebrate Bahamian excellence. We are here to honour those, who, through their contributions to our society, demonstrate to us what we are capable of at our very best.
The stories and achievements of our honourees are woven into the tapestry of our nation’s history. In many ways, there would be no us, without them.
We now confer the highest national honours upon this group of community, industry, and nation builders whose contributions will now be awarded The Order of Distinction, The Order of Merit, the Distinguished Service Medal, and also the Medals for Bravery.
As we delve into the story of The Bahamas, we are constantly reminded of the immense sacrifices and unyielding determination of our forebears. Their indomitable spirit laid the foundations for the sovereign Bahamas we proudly call home today. Their sacrifices have been the guiding light, illuminating our path toward progress, prosperity, and unity.
Consider the narrative of Sir Milo Butler, who championed the cause of the common man, striving for equality, justice, and unity. Or reflect upon the contributions of Sir Clement T. Maynard, whose vision for a progressive Bahamas saw the establishment of numerous institutions and developments, particularly in the tourism area.
Our national narrative is enriched by the artistic contributions of those like George Symonette, whose melodies capture the rhythm and essence of our island spirit.
I want to say thank you, to the National Honours Committee. Your dedication is the reason we are here tonight recognizing the heroes among us. There is so much greatness in this country. I am certain this was a difficult task. You should be commended for your effort.
Thank you, also, to the meticulous team who organized tonight’s event. There is so much work that goes into the successful execution of this event and so many people who made valuable contributions. Thank you all for making this all happen so we can give our heroes the honours they deserve.
Let’s also remind ourselves that recognizing and celebrating our heroes doesn’t end here. We must continue to acknowledge and honour the legacies of those who have made invaluable contributions to our nation.
We must preserve the record of their accomplishments so that our children and children’s children have access to the stories of greatness that will inspire them when the time comes for them to make their own contributions.
This is where initiatives like the envisioned Heroes Park, alongside public education efforts, play a crucial role. Our children must draw inspiration from these stories, ensuring that the spirit of perseverance and national unity continues to thrive.
We have a number of challenges ahead of us as a nation. But I remain confident that there is no obstacle we cannot overcome, and no problem so big that we cannot solve it.
Just take a look around this room, I am confident that our best days are ahead of us because I have seen – and we all bear witness – to what we are truly capable of as Bahamians.
May God continue to guide and protect our honourees, and may he continue to bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as we continue to strive for the best days that are still ahead of us.