Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General and Chancellor, on Monday, conferred national honours on 34 distinguished Bahamians for their contributions to the development of The Bahamas.
The “historic” ceremony was conducted as prescribed in the National Honours Act, for National Heroes Day.
In a special ceremony, on August 23, 2018, national honours were conferred upon the Most Honourable Sir Orville Turnquest and the Most Honourable A.D. Hanna, both former Governors-General.
On Monday, family, friends, well-wishers, members of the religious community and high-ranking government officials witnessed the two-hour ceremony which saw the nation’s highest honours of the Order of National Hero, the Order of Nation, the Order of The Bahamas, the Order of Distinction, and the Order of Merit bestowed on the honourees.
Permanent Secretary to the Office of the Governor-General, Anita Beneby, described the ceremony as a “rite of passage” for the nation. She said the annual event marks “an important step in our transition from a British colony to a sovereign people. But more importantly, I believe that this morning’s ceremony, as well as the many that will follow, will elevate the minds of our people, our own worth and our dignity as a nation.”
Beneby said the vision of the late Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, former prime minister, has become a reality because of the sacrifice of the country’s finest warriors; “Amazons of vision, fighters of courage, warriors of steel … those who did not shrink from dirty hands; those with the imagination to create; persons with the strength of character to stare into the chilly teeth of the raging winds of change; soldiers without fear,” as Sir Lynden called them.
In her remarks, Dame Marguerite said a national honour is the highest form of recognition and tribute that a sovereign government can bestow on those who have distinguished themselves as nation builders.
She congratulated and commended all of the honourees, some of whom were recognized posthumously.
“Their selflessness and high achievement serve as a clarion call to all Bahamians to pattern themselves accordingly so that we can all be of greater service to the nation we hold so dear and whose best interests we are all summoned to serve to the very best of our ability and with steadfast loyalty,” said Dame Marguerite.
The Governor-General called on Bahamians to continue to uphold the virtues of love, mutual respect and goodwill for one another that Bahamians have enjoyed throughout the ages.
“These timeless virtues must continue to guide and direct our best effort as citizens of our Commonwealth.
“We must never set these virtues aside, nor subordinate them to self-centred pursuits that diminish our patriotic pride and deflect us from our sense of commitment to service.
“Now more than ever, we need men and women, boys and girls, to join hearts and minds all across our beloved Bahamas so that a spirit of nation-building can flourish as never before, not only for the present, but as a sure foundation for generations of Bahamians yet unborn.”
Following the Investiture of National Honours ceremony, the Most Honourable Dame Marguerite inspected the Guard of Honour during a parade of the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces at the main entrance of Government House.
A reception followed on the terrace and upper gardens of Government House.
This article was written by KATHRYN CAMPBELL, Bahamas Information Services.