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Bahamas celebrates 38 years of independence

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Bahamas celebrates 38 years of independence

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NASSAU – The Bahamas is celebrating its 38th year of political independence from Britain with Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham indicating the country has emerged into a vibrant democracy and international business centre.
The Bahamas obtained its political independence from Britain on July 10, 1973 and this year’s celebration was being observed under the theme 38 years – United in Love and Service.   
Ingraham told citizens that during the past 38 years the chain of islands has ‘evolved from a small colony on the periphery of the British Empire into a vibrant democracy and international business centre, proud of our social and political stability and determined to broaden economic opportunities for every citizen”.
“Our success to date is manifested in the fact that we enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes among countries in the Americas.”
But he said in recent years, the Bahamas like other developing countries, have endured economic hardships due to the fallout from the global economic recession.
“In the face of such adversity we responded in ways reflective of the theme of this year’s anniversary celebrations. We preserved public sector jobs, increased social assistance programmes, introduced an unemployment benefit, implemented a short-term jobs programme, implemented a jobs training programme and accelerated planned infrastructure projects so as to improve service to the Bahamian people while protecting private sector jobs and serving as a catalyst for more job creation.”
But Ingraham said this year’s independence celebrations were marred by a continued high incidence of crime and while his administration had mounted a multifaceted response to the problem, it was increasingly important that all Bahamians unite “in sending a clear message to the small minority of persons who break our social contract of good neighbourliness and who choose to live outside of the law, that we will neither tolerate nor excuse their criminal behaviour”.  
“In this regard, we should all recall and reflect upon the important role that the extended family and the neighbourhood have played in our development as a people who are open and welcoming, who share easily and who believe that service is a virtue.”
Ingraham warned Bahamians that there would be “many challenges in the year ahead [including] achieving economic recovery and expansion, protecting our environment from degradation in the face of climate change and sea level rise, safeguarding the supply and cost of energy and of food and winning our war on crime”.   
“We are a hardy people, self-reliant and bolstered by a long tradition of resourcefulness and self-reliance. So as we celebrate this 38th anniversary of our independence we recall those qualities,” he said. (CMC)