Nassau, The Bahamas – In pomp and ceremony, the nation bid farewell to the Most Hon. Arthur Dion Hanna, who was honoured as a nation builder, man for all seasons, and a man of courage.
The former Governor General, Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister and Parliamentarian was laid to rest at Matthew’s Anglican Church Cemetery following a two-hour State Funeral at Christ Church Cathedral, George Street, Thursday, August 26, 2021.
Prior to the service, members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, in a colorful procession, escorted the gun carriage bearing the body of Mr. Hanna – the casket draped in flag colors -- as it travelled from Parliament Square to the Cathedral.
Slide show: State Funeral of the Most Hon. Arthur Dion Hanna, August 26, 2021: Procession to Christ Church Cathedral, the church service, procession to St. Matthew’s Anglican Church Cemetery, and interment. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)
The Mass of Thanksgiving, marked with psalms, hymns and prayers was officiated by Fr. Chester Burton, Priest in Charge, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, and Canon Crosley Walkine, retired rector, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church.
Participants included the Most Reverend Drexel W. Gomez, Assistant Bishop, and Archdeacon Keith Cartwright. Family members reading the Epistle, Lesson and Intercessory Prayer were, respectively, Rawiya Rahming, granddaughter; Daniel Hanna, grandson; and Dr. Indira Martin, granddaughter. Representatives of the Government and the Official Opposition served as pallbearers. An ensemble of Christ Church Cathedral Choir performed.
The service, by invitation only, was in accordance with emergency protocols deployed during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor General HE the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith - Christ Church Cathedral
In attendance were: Governor General His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith; former Prime Ministers Hubert A. Ingraham and Perry G. Christie; former governors general, parliamentarians, representatives of the Bahamas Christian Council, representatives of the religious community, family and friends. The service was broadcast over ZNS radio and television network.
Mr. Hanna, the seventh Bahamian Governor General, served from 2006 to 2012. He was a member of the historic Majority Rule Government of 1967. As one of the earliest and most persistent advocates of Bahamas Independence, he played a leading role in bringing national sovereignty to reality in 1973.
A.D. Hanna, as he was known, was born in Pompey Bay, Acklins, on March 7, 1928. He became an attorney and upon returning home from law studies at the University of Bristol, England, joined the Progressive Liberal Party, to which he gave many years of service as Deputy Leader.
Daughter, Glenys Hanna Martin
Archdeacon Cartwright gave condolences to the bereaved family on behalf of the Anglican Diocesan family including the Right Reverend Bishop Laish Boyd.
He proclaimed that the Anglican Church is very proud of Mr. Hanna, who was baptized in St. Eden’s, a small church in Pompey Bay, Acklins, where he began his Christian journey.
“We in the Anglican Church are very proud of his service with distinction to our nation. He was a man of great humility, a man for all seasons, a man of principle, a giant of a man in courage. He was a faithful and devoted member of St. Matthew’s Church,” said Archdeacon Cartwright.
The Hon. Philip Davis
On behalf of Bishop Boyd, he extended thanks and saluted Mr. Hanna’s family for caring and looking after him in the manner in which they did.
In his sermon, Canon Walkine expressed thanks to the Government of The Bahamas for allowing the opportunity to say farewell, in all the pomp and pageantry due to a national hero, and bring closure in the highest form the church offers its members in celebrating the Holy Eucharist during a time of COVID-19 restrictions.
He described Mr. Hanna as a builder and champion of the nation. “Our brother may have walked with kings and queens but he also, just as proudly and humbly, walked, rubbed shoulders, ate and drank with us the common folk because he never forgot who he was and where he came from,” said Canon Walkine.
Procession to St. Matthew's Anglican Church Cemetery
“He used his time here on earth wisely and unselfishly being a champion not just for the marginalized but for all Bahamians. As the champion of Bahamianization his dream was for all Bahamians to recognize and be recognized as having worth. “I’m sure you’ve laughed about some of the things you’ve heard and probably shed a tear or two about them, hold onto those things and etch them in your memory. One of the greatest gifts God in His wisdom has given to us is the gift of memory.
“Keep the stories going; no matter how many times you do so. Let us tell this generation and the generations to come the good and great things our brother A.D. did. Let us remind them he was a national hero, he was passionate patriot, let us remind them he was a builder of the modern Bahamas.”
The Hon. Philip Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, dubbed Mr. Hanna ‘the very personification of patriotism in its purest form.’
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis
“His love for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; his passion for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; and his loyalty to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas were unsurpassed.”
He urged those present to emulate the values and virtues shown including: patriotism, belief that Independence, once achieved, has to be earned; determination to put Bahamians first; insistence that the country is built by Bahamians; compassion for the poor and downtrodden; and insistence on Bahamians first.
In his tribute, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, said Mr. Hanna’s compassionate and bold heart was that of a patriot who hungered and thirsted for justice for his people, especially the more vulnerable and the poorest in society.
“Like all giants, he was made of both the strengths, and the human fallibility to which human flesh and blood are heir.
“He took solace and instruction from the classics he read, and from the healing grace of the Christian Scriptures, that to err and to falter, and yet to grow and to change, are all a part of our human journey.
“At a pivotal moment in our history, he sacrificed his political career for the good of the nation.”
The Prime Minister said Mr. Hanna loved his Bahamas with unrelenting devotion, courage and passion. “He gave his life to the Bahamian people in the struggle for majority rule and independence, playing a pivotal role in the march to both.”
He urged the nation to pick up Mr. Hanna’s baton and continue the patriotic and civic endeavor of passing on to the next generation a more just, equal and better country.
He announced that at another time, when the emergency phase of the pandemic ends, another national tribute to celebrate the life and the extraordinary contributions of Mr. Hanna will be held.
Following the service, onlookers lined George and Bay Streets as a procession led by members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force escorted the gun carriage bearing Mr. Hanna’s casket to St. Matthew’s Anglican Church Cemetery, Shirley and Church Streets.
At the graveyard, the ‘Last Post and Reveille’ was sounded by Buglers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force, prior to interment.
Mr. Hanna served as a Member of Parliament for 32 years: Government Leader in the House of Assembly from 1967 to 1984 and a member of the House of Assembly from 1960 to 1992, where he represented the Anne’s Town Constituency.
He was predeceased by his wife Beryl, and is survived by children: Dion, Glenys, and Dawn, Asherann, Athenea, Atalya, O’Dawn and Cardea.