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The Bahamas – 40th Anniversary of Independence

The Bahamas – 40th Anniversary of Independence
The attainment of national independence for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was the culmination of a long and unrelenting journey towards self-determination for the people of The Bahamas. The political thrust for national independence came from the Progressive Liberal Party under the leadership of the Party's then leader Lynden Oscar Pindling.  The dialogue with the Bahamian people came by way of a Green Paper which was laid in Parliament in March 1972 and finally a White Paper which detailed the Government's plan for the creation of a new nation was laid in Parliament in October 1972.
The Bahamas Independence Conference was held at Marlborough House in London , England from December 12th to December 20th, 1972.  Representing The Bahamas at that Conference was Lynden Pindling leading the government delegation comprising Arthur D. Hanna, Milo Butler, Carlton Francis, Clement Maynard, Paul Adderley,  George A. Smith, Loftus Roker, Philip Bethel, Cadwell Armbrister and Henry Bowen and the opposition delegation led by Kendal G. L. Issacs and comprising Arthur Foulkes, Orville Turnquest and Norman Solomon. The Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Balniel led the British delegation and chaired the Conference. After days of discussion and exchange of views a constitution had been agreed.  The new constitution provided the legal framework for a new Bahamas and included, inter alia, entrenched provisions for the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, citizenship, the Parliament, the Executive, the Judiciary and the Public Service.
A new Coat of Arms and The Flag designed by Hervis Bain and a National Anthem written by Timothy Gibson was introduced to the Bahamian people in April 1972.  The new Constitution of a sovereign Bahamas was formally presented by the Queen's representative HRH Prince Charles to Prime Minister Lynden Pindling at Clifford Park on the morning of July 10th 1973.
The preamble of the Constitution provides in part – "Now Know Ye Therefore: We the Inheritors of and Successors to this Family of Islands, recognizing the Supremacy of God and believing in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, Do Hereby Proclaim in Solemn Praise the Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no Man, Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone or their Labour exploited or their Lives frustrated by deprivation, and do Hereby Provide by these Articles for the indivisible Unity and Creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
The first Bahamian Governor General of the Bahamas , sworn in on 1 August, 1973, was His Excellency Sir Milo Boughton Butler GCMG, GCVO. He was born in Nassau on 11 August, 1906 and educated at the George Washington School, Florida; the public school at Rum Cay , Bahamas and the Boys' Central School in Nassau . 
In 1928, he married the former Miss Caroline Loretta Watson of Morrisville, Long Island and that union produced seven sons and three daughters.
A veteran of more than thirty-five years in politics, Sir Milo began his political career in 1936 when he unsuccessfully contested the seat for the Western District of New Providence against the late Sir Harry Oakes.  In the by-election of 1937, however, he was successful in winning the seat, which he held until 1947.  He again represented the Western District from 1956 – 1966 and from 1967 to 1973 he represented the constituency of Bain Town . 
In April 1965, Sir Milo famously tossed the Speaker's hourglass through the window of the House of Assembly as a result of the Government's introduction of a 15-minute rule to curb lengthy speeches in debate.  This day in history has come to be known as "Black Tuesday."
When the Progressive Liberal Party won the 1967 General Election, Sir Milo became a member of the new Cabinet.  He was appointed Minister of Health and Welfare in 1967 and in 1968 he held 2 portfolios Minister of Labour and Welfare and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.  In 1970 during a Cabinet reshuffle he was assigned the portfolio of Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.  In 1972 he was appointed Minister without Portfolio and in June of that year was honoured by Special Resolution of the Honourable House of Assembly and acclaimed a National Hero.
For many years Sir Milo was among the leading merchants in New Providence and up to the time of his appointment as Cabinet Minister was President of Milo B. Butler and Sons Limited. 
Following a lengthy period of ill health, Sir Milo died on 22 January, 1979. In 1986 a bronze sculpture of a life-size half figure of Sir Milo Butler was unveiled at Rawson Square .  The statue, which weighs over 500lbs was modeled and crafted by Bahamian sculptor, Randolph W. Johnston.  A highway is also named in his honour.
One of the longest-serving heads of government in the Commonwealth, the Right Honourable Sir Lynden Pindling, KCMG served as Prime Minister of The Bahamas for 25 years, during which time he led the country to Independence from Great Britain on 10 July, 1973.  Additionally, he served as a Member of the House of Assembly for 41 consecutive years.
The grandson of a Bahamian seaman and son of a retired policeman, Sir Lynden was born 22 March, 1930.  He attended Government High School in Nassau from 1943 to 1946.  During that time he became junior sprint champion of The Bahamas.
At the age of eighteen Sir Lynden left The Bahamas to attend the University of London , where he received his LL.B in 1952.  He was called to the English Bar, Middle Temple , as a barrister-at-law in February, 1953, and to The Bahamas Bar that August.  Sir Lynden married the former Marguerite McKenzie of Long Bay Cays, Andros, on May 5, 1956, in Nassau .  The union provided him with two sons and two daughters. 
He joined the Progressive Liberal Party (P.L.P.), which was then the minority in Parliament, shortly after its formation in 1953, and in 1956 he was elected to the House of Assembly for the Southern District of New Providence. 
He was elected senior member for the South Central District in 1962 and the following year became chairman of the P.L.P.  In the general election of 1967, he chose to run in an Out Island constituency and his victory helped to secure a majority for his party, without which the formation of a government would not have been possible.  He represented the Kemp's Bay constituency, located in Andros , until he resigned in 1997.
As Prime Minister, Sir Lynden articulated a number of objectives.  A principal goal, sovereignty for The Bahamas, came to fruition 10 July, 1973, when the island nation became fully independent.  On 18 September, in a speech accepting United Nations membership, he told the General Assembly that "we believe that we can make a contribution in human relations in effecting change without disorder, revolution without bloodshed and in developing a stable economic and social order."
Upon his election to the House of Assembly in 1956 as a member of the P.L.P., Sir Lynden immediately became the Party's Parliamentary Leader.  He was subsequently elected Party Leader and led the PLP to election victories in six successive polls: 1967, 1968, 1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987.  During his first two years as Premier, he served as Minister of Tourism and Development.  In 1968 he welcomed the millionth visitor of the year, and by the end of 1989 visitor arrivals exceeded three million.
In a Cabinet reorganization in January, 1989, Sir Lynden assumed the important assignment of Minister of Finance.  On 1 October, 1990, Sir Lynden again reshuffled his Cabinet, relinquishing the Finance portfolio and taking on Tourism once again.
Sir Lynden was also a noted regional and international leader.  In October 1985, he was chairman of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was held in Nassau .  At the same time he was host to the Queen during her fourth state visit to The Bahamas.  It was during that Meeting that the "Nassau Accord" was agreed, which included, inter alia, an agreement to economic sanctions against South Africa, this move on behalf of the Commonwealth is cited as being a significant contributor to the ultimate release of Nelson Mandela. 
In 1973 an honorary  Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) was conferred Sir Lynden by Howard University in Washington, D.C. and in 1977 an honorary  Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) by the University of Miami.  He received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Bethune-Cookman College in 1978 and from Fisk University in 1979.  He was made a member of the Queen's Privy Council in 1976 and on 1 January, 1983, the Queen elevated him to the rank of Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.  At the end of his political career he became known as the Father of the Nation.
The P.L.P. under Sir Lynden's twenty-five years of leadership lost the 1992 and 1997 General Elections to the opposing Free National Movement (F.N.M).  On Monday, 7 July, 1997, Sir Lynden resigned from Parliament, bringing to an end a political era in The Bahamas. In his final speech to Parliament, Sir Lynden noted: "When all I did for good is put on the balance against all I did for ill or failed to do at all, I hope that future generations will not find me sorely wanting."  In 2000, at the time of Sir Lynden's death, the then Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, described Sir Lynden as the Father of the Nation and the architect of the modern Bahamas.  He further noted that Sir Lynden "was a giant of our times, an outstanding personality who towered over the modern political landscape.  He is unique in our history, having authored and shaped our transformation from colony to independent country. 
No one past, present and I dare say future will so impact our country's history; few have had the impact, which he had on my personal formation."  On 6 July, 2006, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, renamed the Nassau International Airport, the Lynden Pindling International Airport in honour of Sir Lynden. 
During his tenure of service to the Bahamian people he presided over some of the most significant institutional, social and economic milestones in the history of our country.  These achievements include the establishment of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the founding of the College of The Bahamas , the creation of the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the National Insurance Board, Bahamasair, and universal access to education and to healthcare.
While these great men and nation-builders brought about momentous change in the constitutional and political evolution of the Bahamas , it was not until the Flamingo Incident, that the changing status of their nation became apparent to many Bahamians. 
On 10 May 1980, just weeks after the Defence Force's official establishment, the Flamingo Incident occurred.  It proved to be a nation-building experience, achieving what no Bahamian politician had been able to do before.  By engendering widespread outrage and national shock it helped Bahamians to grasp the idea of sovereignty and independence and brought about a rallying of patriotism to the Bahamian flag.
In short HMBS Flamingo, a 103ft patrol vessel, left the Coral Harbour Base on Thursday, 8 May, on what should have been a routine ten-day patrol of Bahamian territorial waters to stem poaching.  Two days later, two fishing vessels were spotted and attempted to flee as the Flamingo approached.  When the marines boarded the vessels they found four Cuban crewmen on each vessel along with a large quantity of fish.  They took the vessels into tow to the nearest cay for a more thorough search.
At this point things became far from routine.  Two Cuban MIGs arrived and buzzed and strafed HMBS Flamingo, despite the flying of the Bahamas flag in Bahamas territorial waters.  Hit by rockets and machine gun fire, Flamingo began to take on water and the bridge burst into flames.  Commander Rolle ordered the crew to evacuate and even as the ship sank and the crew attempted to swim to safety, the jets returned, strafing the surrounding waters and tearing apart the two lifeboats that had been jettisoned overboard.
All except four of the nineteen crewmen made it to one of the fishing boats and despite extensive searches the missing marines - Fenrick Sturrup, David Tucker, Edward Williams and Austin Smith - were never found.
The remaining Bahamian crew and their prisoners arrived at Ragged Island on the Sunday and proceeded to Duncan Town on foot to send telegraphs to Nassau about the tragedy and unprovoked attacks. 
Unbelievably the Cuban jet fighters returned with a large long range transport aircraft and a helicopter.  They simulated rocket attacks over the island and at one point the helicopter landed opposite the Cuban fishing vessel dispersing armed troops.  It seemed that a full scale invasion was underway!  It was not until a US jet flew over and around that the Cubans withdrew.  The small island community had been harassed for more than three hours.
Initially the Cubans claimed that the Flamingo had been mistaken for "a pirate ship," but this was not accepted and the immediate concern was to continue the search for the missing men. Weeks of diplomacy ensued and the Cubans eventually accepted full responsibility for the attack, paid compensation to the families of the dead marines and made reparations for the ship and her supplies.  The eight Cuban poachers, who started it all, paid $90,000 in fines.
In 1981 a plaque dedicated to the memory of those lost in the Flamingo Incident was placed near the top of the cenotaph in the Garden of Remembrance and in 1982 Commander Amos Rolle and the other survivors were presented with commemorative awards.  More recently, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force HMBS Flamingo Memorial Park and Monument was officially opened on 10 May 2008.  The families of the four deceased marines each placed one brick, representing their sons, into their respective slots.  The trauma experienced as a young nation may have faded, but Bahamians will always hold fast the memories of the four brave young Marines that perished on that day.
The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Named after Cecil John Rhodes, it was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships and is widely considered the world's most prestigious scholarship.
Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honour the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom . The first Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is very proud to have produced 3 Rhodes scholars to date.
Christian Campbell is a poet, scholar, cultural critic and professor.  Born in Freeport , Grand Bahama, he attended Queen's College Secondary School and graduated at 15. He was accepted to pursue doctoral work in literature and graduated from Macalester College at 19.  After completing PhD coursework at Duke University , Campbell studied at Balliol College , University of Oxford as the 2002 Commonwealth Caribbean Rhodes Scholar. 
After Oxford , Campbell took time off from graduate studies and worked as an editorial consultant at The Nassau Guardian where he ran a  weekly arts, culture and politics supplement called "The Weekender."  He made an impact nationally with his column "Behind God's Back" and conducted a number of landmark interviews with artists and public figures as diverse as Sir Sidney Poitier, the late Rex Nettleford, Buju Banton and Brent Symonette.  In 2003 Campbell was awarded the Minister's Cup for the most outstanding young Bahamian from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and was honoured at the ceremony for the 30th Anniversary of Bahamian Independence.  He received his PhD from Duke University in 2007.
Campbell's widely acclaimed first book, Running the Dusk (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), was a finalist for the Cave Canem Prize (USA), the Forward Poetry Prize for the Best First Book (UK) and the Guyana Prize for Literature (Caribbean), and won the 2010 Aldeburgh First Collection Prize (UK) and a Lannan Residency Fellowship (USA).  He is the second Caribbean poet to be shortlisted for the Forward Prize and the first poet of colour to win the Aldeburgh Prize, the oldest prize for a first book of poetry in the UK .  Running the Dusk was also named one of the best books of 2010 by the Caribbean Review of Books, Horizon Review and Poetry International. 
Other awards include the Alan Collins Fellowship in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and scholarships/fellowships from Cave Canem, the Arvon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center and the University of Birmingham .  Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa calls Running the Dusk "the gutsy work of a long-distance runner who possesses the wit and endurance, the staying power of authentic genius."   
A former CARIFTA swimmer, Campbell is an avid fan of both swimming and track and field.  He gives readings, talks and workshops throughout North America, the UK and the Caribbean .  He has taught at Duke and Oxford Universities and Franklin & Marshall College and is currently a professor of English at the University of Toronto .  In 2012 Campbell delivered the Fifteenth Annual Derek Walcott Lecture for Nobel Laureate Week in St. Lucia (the youngest chosen; former lecturers include Wole Soyinka and Lorna Goodison), was a keynote speaker and poet at "The Power of Caribbean Poetry" Conference at the University of Cambridge and also represented The Bahamas at Poetry Parnassus, the international poetry festival at the Cultural Olympiad of the recent Olympic Games.
Professor Desirée Cox is the first Bahamian Rhodes Scholar and first woman Rhodes Scholar from the Commonwealth Caribbean region. Desiree is a medical doctor as well as being an international contemporary master artist, jazz singer and writer. Described by the British Medical Journal as a 'Renaissance Woman', she is an Honorary Professor of Creativity and Health of the University of Exeter, UK, and Member of the Academy of Medical Educators . 
Professor Cox received her BSc (Hon) from McGill University in Chemistry with special interest in Quantum Chemistry. She then went on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where she was a prize-winning medical student. After Oxford she attended Cambridge University where she received a Master of Philosophy degree (MPhil.) and PhD in History of Medicine and History and Philosophy of the Sciences. Desirée has worked as a doctor in the mental health profession in the UK ( London ), a Consultant to The Prime Minister of The Bahamas in Urban Renewal and Human Development, and Professor of Behavioral Sciences at a US Medical School. She has published a number of academic articles as well as official government publications in history, public health and healthcare and humanities.
She is also an accomplished musician, writer and visual artist. Desirée has performed as a Jazz singer in New York , London and Nassau , Bahamas and has released two Jazz CD's. Her short-stories and poems have appeared in newspapers, Caribbean literary journals and on-line publications. Desirée is also an accomplished artist whose art has been shown in solo and group art exhibitions in Nassau ( Bahamas ), London (UK), New York City and elsewhere in the USA . Her ability as an artist has also been recognized in the juried artist publication International Contemporary Masters, III (2010) and volume IV (2011).  Professor Cox hosts a weekly radio talk show Healing through Creativity on the US-based national talk radio syndication WebTalkRadio.  ( shows/healing-through-creativity/).  Desirée has over twenty years of international experience in health, mind-body medicine, and the integration of medicine and the creative arts.  She currently lives and works in London , UK .  See for more information.
Myron Rolle was born in 1986 in Houston , Texas to Whitney and Beverly Rolle of Nassau , Bahamas . He was raised in Galloway , New Jersey alongside his four older brothers, yet spent each late spring and summer of his formative years in Nassau . Mr. Rolle maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout high school at The Hun School of Princeton and was rated by ESPN as the #1 football recruit in the USA in 2006.
He selected Florida State University where he later became an Associated Press Football All-American and BET Male College Athlete of the Year in 2008. Mr. Rolle graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Exercise Science for Pre-Med in just 2.5 years. Upon graduation Mr. Rolle won the coveted Cecil J. Rhodes Scholarship and earned the Master of Science (MSc) in Medical Anthropology from Oxford University in 2009. Mr. Rolle returned to the USA in 2010 and was drafted into the National Football League by the Tennessee Titans – one of only three people in history to ever be a Rhodes Scholar and NFL player. He finished his playing career three years later with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is now enrolled at Florida State University College of Medicine to become a neurosurgeon. Outside of academia and sport, Mr. Rolle is the chairman of the Myron L. Rolle Foundation which facilitates the underserved in areas of health, wellness and education in the USA and around the world. The Myron L. Rolle Foundation currently hosts the Myron Rolle Wellness and Leadership Academy for Florida foster children, 'Rhodes to Success' – an academic workshop for at-risk teenagers, and 'Our Way to Health' – an anti-obesity program for American Indians of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo tribes. Mr. Rolle's future and most ambitious project involves aiding the development of the medical infrastructure of Exuma – the birthplace of his maternal and paternal grandparents – by creating a free health clinic in Steventon.  He is a member of the President Clinton Global Initiative Lead team which has travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on humanitarian efforts.
15c - The Bahamas Independence Conference
25c - Sir Milo Butler
50c - Sir Lynden Pindling
65c - Flamingo Incident
70c – Rhodes Scholars
Technical details:
Printer                                                  BDT International Security Printing
Process                                                 Stochastic Lithography
Perforation                                          14 per 2cms
Stamp size                                           28.45 x 42.58mm
Sheet Layout                                       20 (2 x 10)
Release Date                                        8 July 2013
Production Co-ordination                Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
For additional information, please contact John Smith,
Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818181 Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199




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