THE MOMENT when the highest point of the US Embassy was topped out on Friday.
ON Friday, the United States’ diplomatic mission to The Bahamas held a topping-out ceremony for the physical structure of the new US Embassy building being constructed in the heart of downtown Nassau — on the corner of Shirley and East Streets.
“The United States is here for The Bahamas, and that is really what this building is all about,” said US Chargé d’Affaires and the host for the evening, Usha E Pitts.
During her remarks, Chargé Pitts commented on the enduring strength of the US-Bahamas relationship — sustained by shared values and common interests — and said The Bahamas “is known in my government as a young but vibrant nation; as a member of the sisterhood of democracies”.
Governor General Sir Cornelius A Smith; Prime Minister Philip Davis; Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree; Minister of Works and Utilities and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfred Sears attended the event along with other high-ranking US and Bahamian government officials, Cabinet ministers, and close partners at the socially-distanced outdoor event.
Mr Davis reminded those gathered that the US and The Bahamas share a close relationship in many ways.
He said the new embassy “symbolises an understanding that the closeness between our nations is well worth a continuing investment.”
Mr Davis thanked the US for the country’s support during the pandemic — among other acts of goodwill — including the donation of over 128,000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The ceremony marks the halfway point of the overall project and means “the building will go no higher, and the basic shape is complete”, said overseas building operations director Stephen Ziegenfuss.
Mr Ziegenfuss thanked the The Bahamas government for its cooperation in support of the project over the past two years, including permits, work visas, and customs documents. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023.
“Already, it stands as a lasting symbol of the enduring friendship between the United States and The Bahamas,” said Director of Caribbean Affairs Nan Fife.
During the ceremony, the embassy also raised onto the roof a tamarind tree — which will be planted on the embassy grounds after construction is complete — in celebration of the Bahamian spirit and the shared roots and values that strengthen the relationship between the United States and The Bahamas.