NASSAU, The Bahamas – A significant number of former employees of the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas and residents of West Grand Bahama and Bimini (some posthumously) comprised the list of recipients awarded the Order of Merit at the Investiture of National Honours 2023.
Six men, some retired and some posthumously, who have or continue to serve the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, received Medals for Acts of Bravery.
Just under 100 awardees received National Honours during the second of two ceremonies held Monday, October 9 at the Lower Gardens of Government House, Mount Fitzwilliam. Governor General Her Excellency the Most Honourable Cynthia A. Pratt, Chancellor of Societies of Honour, presented the awards before guests including the National Honours Advisory Committee, members of parliament, senior government officials, family and friends.
In brief remarks, the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Honours Advisory Committee, congratulated the honourees for being nation builders.
“You didn’t know it when you were doing all of the work that you were doing, but you were helping to build the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and for that we are deeply grateful.”
Minister Mitchell said the service was “especially” moving for him because the late Al Dillette, former journalist and the Bahamas’ Consul General in Toronto, a friend and “good” colleague, was honoured posthumously.
“In that connection I remember my fallen colleague [the Hon.] Obie Wilchcombe [former Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for Bimini and West End, Grand Bahama] who insisted that those who were his colleagues at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, those who were his constituents in Bimini and West End, Grand Bahama, should be suitably honoured in this honours investiture service.
“And that’s what it’s all about. National Heroes Day is a time of reflection, a time to show where we’ve come from and also to look in the future so that all of those young people coming behind us could look at your lives, sacrifice and hard work and can say I would like to do that I would like to be there one day too,” said Minister Mitchell.
He noted that in 1972 when the nation’s independence was being negotiated it was an all-male delegation at the table and in 1973 when The Bahamas became an independent nation there were no women at the table. “Similarly, up to this year there were no females included in those of the heroes of our country. This year we’ve rectified that and I’m pleased that the Prime Minister agreed with us that Dame Dr. Doris Johnson should go down in the history of our country as one of the heroines of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.” The Dame was awarded the Order of National Hero (posthumously) during the earlier ceremony.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis urged those present to remember that the recognition and celebrations do not end with the event.
He said, “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 our accomplishments so our children, and our 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.”
The final group of honourees will receive awards during National Investiture ceremony Tuesday, October 10, 2023.