By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
HUNDREDS celebrated the Bahamas' 45th independence anniversary in Freeport at the Independence Park on Monday evening during an event that climaxed with the police Tattoo and a fireworks display around midnight.
Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest and his wife, Sonia, were present, as well as Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson and his wife, Tammy. Members of Parliament Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, Rev Frederick McAlpine, Senate President Katherine Smith, and Senator Jasmine Turner Darius were also present.
Robert Lockhart, president of the Grand Bahama Christian Council - who spoke briefly on Monday evening - said the Bahamas has come far as a nation by faith.
"We have come this far by faith," he said. "In these last 45 years, we have seen advances in education, health, housing, national security, in our culture, sports, and industry."
In addition to the major achievements, Pastor Lockhart also said the country has had some challenges over the years.
He noted that there had been the rise of violent crime, drug trafficking, drug abuse, human smuggling, and gun racketeering.
"We also had challenges with devastating hurricanes, the rise of unemployment, and the increase of our national debt, which led to the increase of taxes and the cost of living in the Bahamas," he said.
"Be not in despair, fellow Bahamians, because…God did not bring us this far to leave us," Pastor Lockhart said. He urged Bahamians to continue to trust in God.