From the young to the young at heart, Bahamians, regardless of race, color or creed, assembled at the Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King parking lot to participate in the Third Annual Majority Rule Day Parade and Cultural Extravaganza, hosted by the Ministry for Grand Bahama.
All in attendance united as one despite their political affliction sharing one thing in common, the fact that all are privileged and blessed to be characterized as Bahamian.
The celebrations began in the parking lot where Chairman of the Majority Rule Day Committee, Dr. Cecil Thompson, welcomed everyone and shared the significance of hosting such an event. Speaking directly to the future of the nation, the youth, Thompson expressed, “This is for you, the future of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
Prior to parading from the church grounds to downtown Freeport, Thompson continued, “This part of today’s ceremony is perhaps the most important to me, because these students represent the future. This makes the third year that they have been a part of this, the only District in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas where, since Majority Rule Day became a public holiday - principals, administrators, teachers, guidance counselors - rather than go anywhere else you could have been on a public holiday, have taken time out to be here. This means the most to me, because it says that these principals, administrators and teachers, have an appreciation for history.
“Dr. Donald McCartney wrote a beautiful essay on Majority Rule, which brought him to the attention of the leadership of the then Opposition party and Sir Lynden Pindling. We know about the national leaders and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, but did you know that a student represented all of you; he went all over The Bahamas speaking, because of his ability to speak and ability to read,” shared Thompson.
Rev. Peter Pinder, president of the Grand Bahama Christian Council (GBCC), during his invocation gave thanks to the Almighty for preserving lives, country and preserving the democracy that Bahamians experience in this country. “We thank you for our people, because; we realize that people are the most precious resource that any country can have. We thank you that we can celebrate the freedom that you have granted to us, because of your presence in our lives we are able to celebrate Majority Rule Day for which we give you thanks.”
Quintin Laroda, Area Vice President, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) welcomed all in attendance.
“It is indeed a pleasure for me to celebrate this wonderful day with you and to welcome all of you on this auspicious occasion, when we come together to celebrate this point in the history of our country; where one of our very own from the labor movement crossed the floor and joined with the great Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), at that time, to establish what we celebrate today, Majority Rule.
“It is something for all of us to be a part of regardless of our political association, our background as a Bahamian, or our belief systems. What we can do is recognize and celebrate that The Bahamas is what it is today, where we have come so far, because some brave men and women stood and said that in this country, the majority of the individuals should have the majority of the say, in how we are to live, how we are to govern and how we are to conduct ourselves,” said Laroda.
“I am very proud to be a part of that movement, the inheritor with all of you, of the great efforts of those people. Those who have come from far and wide, particularly the young people, because you are establishing something that will continue for decades to come. I thought Mr. Thompson was very wise in insisting that the schools play a part in this. What we are establishing now is a culture that those kids who are marching at age five, will march at 10, 15 and again at age 30. The spirit of Majority Rule will continue forever,” stated Laroda.
Leading the Third Annual Majority Rule Day Parade on Pioneer’s Way was the Bahamas Scout Association, led by Deputy Commissioner, Reginald Dean. As the procession moved from the rear of Pro Cathedral of Christ the King parking lot, various public and private schools were represented, all proudly displaying their school banners.
Many uniformed groups were also a part of the parade, offering spectators delightful entertainment. Various local bands also offered selections, all in celebration of the significant milestone in the nation’s history.
Following the parade through downtown, the audience gathered on the bleachers where Bishop Godfrey Williams, senior pastor of Jubilee Cathedral, opened the event in prayer.
Williams, like Pinder, gave an extremely thought provoking invocation and shared, “I am a little disappointed because we have made this a political issue but, The Bahamas is not black nor white and everyone should be here to thank God from whence we came. I stand here on behalf of all of our children, from Grand Bahama to Inagua, San Salvador, Cat Island, Bimini and Mayguana; every island throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, we pause to say thank you Father, because you have blessed this nation that is the envy of the Caribbean, and indeed the world.
“The best is yet to come. I see a brighter and better Bahamas, we recognize what is going on is only temporal, and is subject to change. I speak change over the crime rate in this nation.
“As we continue to celebrate today and pass on the legacy from whence we came that our children will be able to understand that is has not only been this way, but that you have brought us from a mighty long way. There are those who have suffered, those who have gone through much to make this day happen. Now, many are deceased and have gone on, but we want to thank God for them who from blood, sweat and tears stood up for what they believed and today we are standing on their shoulders,” concluded Williams.
Dr. Joneth Edden, Deputy Chairperson, Majority Rule Day Committee offered the welcome remarks and recognition of the 2015 honorees, including the four who passed away during this past year (2015).
She invited all to enjoy special performances by the Bahama Bass Brand, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Band, Shekinah Bahamas, Simeon Outten and The Freedom Band, The Cooling Waters, the Backyard Dancers and various schools.
Sharing remarks was former Ambassador Maurice Moore, who shared that he was elated to be a part of the Third Annual Majority Rule Day Parade. “This is indeed a great day in the history of our country. I am proud, firstly, to be a part of it and to be among those who through sweat and tears and great difficulty, 50 years ago, stood on this very street. I remember there were 23 of us, along with Sir Lynden, who marched this road here, into the police station and there we had discussions. I am particularly proud of all of the progress The Bahamas has made, over the last 50 years of Majority Rule.
“While I am pleased with the progress the various governments under the political parties have made over the last 49 years, I am not so pleased about some of the things, which took place during those 49 years. I am also not pleased that after 49 years, and I am so happy to have heard Bishop Williams today, state the case, we are one Bahamas. There must be complete equality, for all its citizens, black or white, rich or poor, no matter what party you belong to.”
Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. Michael Darville, Member of Parliament for Pineridge in his brief remarks shared, “Mr. Moore, a lot of what you are saying is something that we must address. It is something that has been going on for many years, it is chronic and all of us, irrespective of our political persuasion need to work together; those who are in government, those that are not in government to make sure that every Bahamian throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, has access to equal opportunities.
“Today it is really a pleasure to be here. We have been doing this for the past three years and each year, our parades are getting better and better, the quality of workmanship as far as organizational skills from the committee as well as our marching bands and school participating is improving by leaps and bounds,” expressed Darville.
A number of honorees were also present during the event, both men and women, who all were witnesses to the significant milestone in the history of The Bahamas, on that fateful day, 49 years ago. Each were presented with a token of appreciation, in the form of a certificate, thanking them for their contributions, to making The Bahamas what it is today.
The well-attended event concluded with a Junkanoo Rush Out, where the Platinum Knights and Kingdom Culture Junkanoo groups put on stellar performances for all to enjoy.
Published Tuesday, January 12, 2016