FROM left, Mike Laroda, Minister of State for the Office of the Prime Minister; Senator Michael Halikitis, Minister of Economic Affairs; John HW Pinder, II, MP for Central and South Abaco; JoBeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; US Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis; Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training; Dr Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness; and Kirk Cornish, MP for North Abaco.
THE United States is partnering with the Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society and the Elbow Reef Foundation to restore the iconic Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town, Abaco.
On Friday, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, US Embassy Nassau Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts, other US and Bahamian government officials and stakeholders gathered on the lawn in front of the lighthouse to inaugurate the Elbow Reef Lighthouse Restoration project.
The project is made possible by a grant from the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) worth over $472,000 dollars.
The US is partnering with the two aforementioned organisations through the AFCP.
The historic landmark has stood on Elbow Cay for 158 years. Regular weathering and wear, compounded by the devastating force of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, have taken a toll on this cultural treasure. The grant will help fund repairs to the interior original slate floors, the sophisticated fresnel lens that focuses a beam of light visible for up to 23 nautical miles, and restoration and re-painting of the iconic red-and-white candy-coloured exterior.
“Lighthouses offer hope... filled with the knowledge that some other human soul, people we may never meet, have invested so heavily to protect the journeys, and lives, and well-being of strangers,” Mr Davis said.
He noted that the lighthouse keeper’s labour to protect others “speaks to a profound sense of humanity. They are hopeful examples of the best in us.”
For her part, Ms Pitts reminded the audience of gathered dignitaries to “remember that this is an important historic marker... of our shared human history.”
The restoration of the lighthouse is yet another dimension of the enduring friendship between The Bahamas and the United States, and honours the architecture, history, and culture of The Bahamas, and supports Bahamian livelihoods, a press release from the US Embassy said.
Restoration will not only help preserve a historic landmark, it will also continue to strengthen tourism and economic activity in an area devastated first by Hurricane Dorian, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic, the embassy said.
The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society and the Elbow Reef Foundation will implement the nearly half-million AFCP grant and oversee the restoration project.
Constructed in 1863, the iconic red-and-white Elbow Reef Lighthouse is the last of its kind left in the world.