By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Perry Christie was on hand yesterday to announce the Bimini Bahamas Plaque Project which will see a bust of American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr erected in the Bimini mangroves.
According to project chair, Joyce Danford, the erection of the bust will bring “attention and awareness” to the connection Dr King had with the Bahamas.
“The memorial bust will be placed at the site in the mangroves in Bimini, Bahamas where Dr King spent peaceful moments with boat maker and bone fisherman Captain Ansil Saunders in 1964 and again in 1968, four days before his death, and was inspired to write part of the speeches he delivered while accepting the Novel Peace Prize in 1964 and the one delivered to the sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee before his assassination in 1968,” Ms Danford said.
The bust, designed by sculptor Erik Blome, will be unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday, October 6 during a weekend-long event starting Friday, October 5 and ending Sunday, October 7.
Speaking in the Majority Room alongside Ms Danford and other project managers, Mr Christie pointed to a connection between Dr King and Sir Lynden Pindling and also noted that Bimini is expected to take a “significant leap forward” in terms of investments and opportunities as early as December.
“It so happens that this is happening when we are approaching the 40th anniversary of Independence,” he said. “I expect that we will use the occasion to memorialise the great contributions of Bahamians and those who have contributed to our country.
“This is happening at a time when in Bimini we are about to usher in a new period of prosperity in Bimini and I say that without equivocation and without fear of contradiction that Bimini is about to be visited with a significant leap forward in investment and opportunities for Bahamians.
“So as we approach October and the event that will commemorate Dr King’s presence there, we want to remember that Dr King’s work and the message of Lynden Pindling paralleled each other in our country during the ‘60s when there was this great leap forward, where the golden age was ushered in – of idealism and opportunities.”
Mr Christie added: “As the closest offshore island to the United States of America, it’s going to be a very prominent island, I think, beginning as early as December.”
The Plaque Project will also coincide with a scholarship programme that will allow Bahamian students to attend the Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida.
Beaver Street Fisheries chair Harry Frisch, who agreed to fund the bust, suggested a scholarship as “a more permanent tribute” to Dr King.