The Bahamas' 40th Independence anniversary celebrations will open next month with the rededication of the Paradise Island Bridge in honour of Sir Sidney Poitier. During a press conference at the Churchill building, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced, in a joint venture with Atlantis, that the 40th anniversary celebrations will open on November 2 through 3 with a bridge renaming ceremony connection, concert and fireworks show.poiter_bridge

Mr Christie said Sir Sidney has not only an inspirational life story, but has also made “significant contributions” through diplomacy representing the Bahamas, firstly at UNESCO and later as Ambassador to Japan. “Hopefully,” he said this (the celebrations) will symbolise to the Bahamas that “we are beginning a process that is intended to unite us and bring focus to what really keeps us together and minimises what divides us – that is the intent, to deepen and further the advance of our civilisation that is the Bahamas.”

Additionally, the Government has also committed to building a new Centre for the Performing Arts that will also be named in Sir Sidney’s honour.“It is time for us now to give also to those who are artists, actors and actresses, producers and directors, to release them and give their talent the best possible opportunity to be developed in the best possible facility – we are going to use the 40th anniversary as a catalyst,” said Mr Christie. Mr Christie said the Bahamas’ 40th Independence celebration is also an opportunity to ensure that the history of the Bahamas and the works and lives of influential Bahamians are recorded and preserved. He added that it also will be marketed so that not only the Bahamas but the world can enjoy this celebration of heritage and culture.

“I want to invite all Bahamians to see this as an extraordinary beginning to the committee’s work and know that we will bring tremendous focus to all that is right about the Bahamas and we hope in the process to receive the intention of the world and already major efforts are being made to make this an event weekend that the world will take note of,” he said. Co-chairs of the Bahamas’ 40th Independence Anniversary Steering Committee, Dr Nicollette Bethel and Charles Carter said the 40th anniversary is about building up a national identity and reclaiming Bahamian heritage and culture. Mr Carter said the celebrations are intended to bridge the gap between generations of Bahamians.“It will be a joining of generations, and I sincerely mean that, from the generation that brought you Independence,” said Mr Carter.

When asked how much the government intends to spend on the anniversary, Mr Carter said celebrating what it is to be Bahamian is “priceless”. “It is priceless, how much do you spend to be you – we don’t want to make money the focus of this because what we are trying to do is reclaim our heritage and that is priceless,” he said. “We look at ourselves as being priceless, that is the beauty of this, it is the greatest process that any person can be involved in, the rediscovery of who you are.” Mr Carter said Singer Jennifer Hudson will be performing at the concert next month and further announcements regarding ticket information will be announced shortly.

 Bahamas' 40th Independence anniversary celebrations will open next month with the rededication of the Paradise Island Bridge in honour of Sir Sidney Poitier.

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