Committee preps for country’s 45th birthday celebrations

Independence Celebrations Committee Chairman, Mark Humes.

Plans for the 45th Independence celebrations were revealed during a press conference at police headquarters on Monday.

Among the week-long activities outlined by Independence Planning Committee (IPC) Chairman Mark Humes and his team, are the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Tattoo, a national essay competition and a nationwide national recording artist search.

“Our independence celebrations occupy a special place of prominence on the national calendar of events and is celebrated across the islands of The Bahamas,” Humes said.

“The main purpose of this press briefing is to launch our national independence essay competition and recording artist search.  The committee also thought to use this opportunity to update you, the media and the public at large, on the events planned for this year’s celebration.”

Assisting Humes with the independence competitions are Ministry of Education Senior Officer Vanria Jack and Ministry of Culture Director Rowena Sutherland.

“The Ministry of Education is pleased to partner with the National Independent Secretariat, in promoting an essay competition, in celebration of our 45th Independence anniversary,” Jack confirmed.

Students are required to compose a short story under the theme, ‘Celebrate Bahamas: We’ve come this far through faith’, where they will be required to reflect on major developments in The Bahamas, post-independence.

Primary school students are expected to write between 250 to 300 words; junior high school students are expected to write 400 to 450 words and senior high school students are expected to write 600 to 800 words.

“We expect that the essays will be the student’s original work,” Jacks added.

Students will be judged on their development of ideas, organization, creativity, mechanics and grammar.  Completed essays should be typed and saved in PDF format and emailed to nationaleventsbahamas.gov.bs.

Sutherland also expressed her department’s enthusiasm for organising the first independence national recording artist search and credited Humes as the project’s brainchild.

“He (Humes) is very passionate about seeing the youth in our nation develop their artistry. So, we’re very pleased to support an initiative such as this,” she said.

Eligible candidates must be Bahamian citizens between ages 14-30 and not signed to any professional record label.

“There will (also) be a live audition,” Sutherland highlighted.

Winners of the essay and artist competition will be announced July 6 during the National Pride Day celebration, which will be held in Rawson Square.

Other events slated for the celebration include:

  • The police ‘Beat Retreat’ on Sunday July 1;
  • Command performances by the national youth choir, the national dance company, the national dance school, the national youth choir, the national orchestra and the national children’s choir, all to held on Monday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m. at Dr. Keva M. Bethel building at the University of The Bahamas (UB);
  • National Pride Day on July 6, which includes, a ‘national walking history classroom’ meeting at Rawson Square that will cover more than 244 years of Bahamian history including historical reenactments;
  • A fun, run, walk and junk-a-robics, which will be accompanied by a junkanoo group, on Saturday, July 7;
  • An Ecumenical service on July 9 on Clifford park, and
  • The RBPF Tattoo to be held on Fort Charlotte.

“When you look at what has gotten us to this point in history, you can only say its’ our faith that brought us here,” Humes insisted.

“We started a process last year where we wanted to address our history in our culture; a faith-based nation. Faith is extremely important to our history and this is just one aspect of who we are, that we would like to bring out this year in the celebrations,” he said.

According to Humes, conversations have begun to in an effort to identify ways to garner more international awareness of the country’s independence, and by extension, its history.