I strongly believe Independence has become both a blessing and a curse towards the Bahamas. Prior to receiving its Independence, the Bahamas was first a crown colony government under the British in the year 1718 and were encourage to abide by all rules and regulations that were pass on to them. The British offered the Bahamas protection, wealth and power. After many years of being supported by the British government, the Bahamas believed that it was time for a change. Sir Randol Fawkes was the first to bring the topic of Independence to the attention of the members in parliament. On the journey for its Independence the nation was faced with a few disagreements but, with great leaders who were willing to push for separation and endure the tedious tasks we managed to overcome all obstacles. Finally, on July 10, 1973 the Bahamas became a Commonwealth nation and was free from British rule. Upon obtaining its Independence the Bahamas forecasted a better and brighter future. After attaining Independence the people expected a new cultural lifestyle, government agencies being developed, and equality between for women.
The Bahamas was well on its way to being a successful independent country, or so they thought. Shortly after becoming Independent the Bahamas made a major cultural change pertaining to the new Commonwealth nation. One of the changes includes the creation of the Bahamian Flag and the Coat of Arms. The colors embodied in the design of the Bahamian flag symbolize the image and aspirations of the people of The Bahamas; the design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun, sand, and sea) and the economic and social development (Bahamian culture). The flag is a black equilateral triangle against the mast, attached on a horizontal background made up of two colors on three equal stripes of aquamarine, gold and aquamarine. The Coat of Arms is described to be a shield that is surrounded by the national symbols being its key points. Both the blue marlin and the flamingo are visible. They are the national fish and bird. The flamingo can be found on numerous locations on the island and the blue marlin is found within the Caribbean area of the sea.
There is also a both sailing within the image that indicates the Santa Maria which was owned by Christopher Columbus and at the bottom of is the inscription “Forward, Upward, Onward Together.” The chain of islands was now able to experience culture from their own perspective and is capable of creating their own cultural lifestyle. The Bahamas’ culture is a very unique and diverse one. Our culture has been express through religion, music, food and dress. Christianity is the dominant religion in the Bahamas such as Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal, Church of God, Methodist, Protestants, Roman Catholic and other unknown religions. Music has also became a vital part of culture, one of the most popular music is junkanoo and celebrations that both occur on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Songs created by Bahamian artist that relates to our lifestyle and chain of islands which is used to soothe the soul. Lastly, the way we dress also changed after gaining independence. Bahamians was now able to se their creative minds to produce clothing and accessories that will portray that you are a proud Bahamian.
Since the Bahamas became independent this required a new leader and government and there was no better person for the job than Sir Lynden Pindling. Mr. Pindling became the Bahamas’ first prime minister he rules for over 20 years as the leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). The blacks were now in command of their own life and didn’t have to rely on the whites for any support. According to Kevin Alcena the government was on a steadfast mission to improve economic development, increase the standard of living and decrease the uprising of unemployment within the country. By the early 1980’s the Bahamas was beginning to become apart with major involvements with regional and international affairs. It wasn’t attempting to please the United States; instead it found many ways in which it can better itself as a nation (Alcena). Unexpected problems came about which led to the Bahamian being flooded with immigrants. Illegal Haitian immigrants kept arriving to the Bahamas although provisions were made that they were not to.
Although we were free from British rule, Queen Elizabeth II is the nominal Head of State and is represented in The Bahamas by an appointed Governor General who is currently Sir Arthur Foulkes (The Bahamas Independence Issue, 1973). He is responsible for appointing the Prime Minister as well as other government Ministers after consultations with the Prime Minister. The damage to Pindling’s reputation following drug trafficking claims, and the islands’ poor economic performance during the early 1990s led to the PLP’s rejection by the electorate at the August 1992 polls. The new premier was long-time opposition leader Hubert Ingraham of the Free National Movement (FNM). The PLP regained control of the government in 2002 before Ingraham became Prime Minister again in 2007.
Independence made more than an economic impact but a social one as well, granting Bahamian women equality. After independence Bahamian women were given an opportunity to vote for their choice of government. It has been proven that Bahamian women have a majority of votes compare to the men. Since then women has become more powerful, the country has had a female President of the Senate and Court of Appeal, Members of Parliament, Governor General, head of schools, and Deputy Prime Minister. A positive example can be Cynthia A. Pratt (Mother Pratt) who became the country first female acting Prime Minister when Mr. Christie suffered an illness. Although women were offered so much power under circumstance that power was evoked. In a report by Noelle Nicolls, it has become known that women still doesn’t have the power to offer their offspring citizenship which Bahamian men can also, raping your wife within the Bahamas is considered a legal offense.
Racial equality also arose due to the Bahamas receiving its Independence. Whites no longer had the control they had before the Bahamas became a Commonwealth of nation. Black majority rule came into extreme affect after Sir Lynden Pindling was announced Prime Minister of the Bahamas. The “Bay Street Boys” who were the previous government of the Bahamas was kicked to the curbed and was left with nothing but their shops they established on Bay Street. Finally the blacks and the white lived together as one although, they are still some racist within the island we have seize to overcome them and continue to live peacefully under the government of the Bahamas.
In conclusion the Bahamas gaining Independence wasn’t such a bad idea. Many new developments and achievements were accomplished as a Commonwealth nation. A brand new cultural lifestyle was created that gave the islanders a chance to show their diversity and use there creative minds to create native clothing or accessories which would attract more tourist to the island and increase the tourism industry which will also have an effect on the economic development of the island. The government system also took a turn for the better; many new government agencies were developed to help with better health care, charitable services and protection of the island. People were given more jobs and unemployment began to decrease along with poverty. More and more people started to have faith inside the government system which the newly independent nation provided. Lastly, social equality was passed down and women became close to as powerful as the men within the country. They became a figure leader for the women that reside in the Bahamas. Racial inequality was also abolished and black majority rule took its tool as the leader of the island.
Alcena, Kevin “A Nation Unfolding – An outlook of the Bahamas from Independence to Now.” Print.
“The Bahamas Independence Issue, 1973.” Nassau, Bahamas. Nassau Guardian. 1973. Print “The Bahamas Ten Years after Independence 1973-1983.” Ministry of Education. Print. “History of the Bahamas” Post- Independence Era. Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Bahamas Nicolls, Noelle “Bahamas Independence: Rethinking the progress after 37 years” The Tribune.
July 2012. Web.
“Bahamian Women and their Independence in an Independent Bahamas.” The Tribune. July 2010. Web. Symonette, Michael. “The New Bahamians” Reflections on our National Life since Independence.” Nassau, Bahamas. Bahamas International Pub. 1982. Print.