Prime Minister Davis’ Remarks at the 50th Anniversary Independence Gala, Miami

Fellow government officials,

Members of the diplomatic corps,

Mayors and Commissioners of South Florida,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

What a pleasure it is to welcome you all to this Independence Gala, an evening of joyous celebration in honour of our golden jubilee!

Tonight, we mark one of the most significant moments in the history of The Bahamas. Tonight, we look back on the past fifty years: fifty years of grit and growth, fifty years of ingenuity and innovation, fifty years of glorious independence. 

Tonight, we honour the colossal achievements of the nation builders that have come before us – indeed, we raise them up for all that they have done to forge the modern Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Let us preserve and pay tribute to their memory by living out the values they wrote into our very constitution, the values of self-discipline, industry, loyalty, and unity. 

My friends, over the past fifty years, we have built a country that stands tall among the world’s nations. The spirit of our people has soared high, propelling us above the obstacles in our way. We have weathered storms, both literally and figuratively, with remarkable endurance and unbreakable bonds of camaraderie. 

In the fields of health, education, sport, and the arts, we have achieved impressive milestones – be it the establishing of our very own university or bringing home Olympic gold. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let us put our hands together, for all that our humble archipelago has accomplished!

But even as we celebrate the triumphs of our fellow citizens at home, even as we look back on the proud legacy of our Bahamaland, it is also important that we acknowledge the successes of Bahamians living and working abroad. 

Since the early 20th century, Bahamians and other West Indian migrants have settled in this city and contributed to the development of the modern metropolis that is Miami. Historic communities such as Coconut Grove are a testament to the industrious legacy of our people in this land. Shaped by decades of Bahamian influence, these communities have indisputably contributed to the commercial and cultural vigour of South Florida. 

A few of those enterprising Bahamians, who have made an indelible mark on the state of Florida, are in our very presence tonight! It is my pleasure to recognise the following trailblazers of Bahamian descent, who have worked tirelessly in the pursuit of excellence and, by their brilliant example, have made numerous contributions to the Bahamian diaspora. Those honourees are Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Councilwoman Shannan Ighodaro, Rev. Vincent Brown, Commissioner Lawrence Martin, and Dr. Enid Pickney. 

I must also salute another stellar individual who is retiring after more than 38 years of dedicated service to the Government of The Bahamas and the Consulate General in Miami. 

Mrs. Caron Green, thank you for your service! 

Let us raise a glass to her, our honourees, and all the extraordinary members of the Bahamian Diaspora! 

Continue to pursue greatness, my friends, and rest assured that we will always be ready to welcome you home. 

As members of the diaspora, you play a crucial, often untapped, role in nation-building. In living and working abroad, you have acquired novel expertise and innovative practices which can be shared, remotely or in-person, with your fellow Bahamians. 

Beyond facilitating knowledge and skill transfer, the diaspora also serves as a powerful voice on the international stage, advocating for our interests and raising awareness of pressing issues. Your influence defies geographic boundaries, my friends. You possess a unique platform to lobby for positive change. Seize the day, and make a difference. 

Acknowledging and harnessing the power of our diaspora is not an opportunity we can afford to waste. It is a decisive and urgent undertaking, one which can lead to enhanced development, progress, and prosperity for our Bahamas. 

My brothers and sisters, we need your support. Your assistance will be key in our efforts to build a stronger, more sustainable Bahamas in the years to come. 

So, from Nassau to Inagua, from Freeport to Mayaguana, from South Florida to South Korea, I invite all Bahamians, at home and abroad, to consider how they might make their mark on The Bahamas.

Though tonight we pause to reflect on the past fifty years, let us not rest on our laurels. Let us look back on a prosperous past, and then turn our heads toward an even more auspicious era to come.  

As we embark upon the next fifty years, let us work toward a nation that not only thrives economically, but is environmentally sustainable and socially just. Let us embrace our differences – the socio-economic stratum we come from, the shade of our skin, the island we call home – and draw immeasurable strength from our shared humanity. Together, in the years to come, we can achieve even more than we have already.

Tonight, the past meets the future. 

Tonight, we celebrate an independent Bahamas. 

Fifty. Years. Strong.

Thank you and have a wonderful evening!