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Two days after the fireworks over Clifford Park and a rivoting Junkanoo...
Chief Administrator of the National Independence Secretariat Jack Thompson called on Bahamians yesterday to "catch the independence fever" as the National Independence Committee launched its '40 day countdown' to July 10.
The secretariat had planned to kick off the countdown at the launch of a flag journey ceremony in Rawson Square last night, but bad weather delayed the event to June 4 at 6 p.m.
During that ceremony, the official independence flag will be raised in the square.
Member of the National Independence Committee Arlene Nash Ferguson said that flag will be taken across The Bahamas.
"It is very important that every single island in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas feels a part of the independence celebrations, and so the idea was conceived that the flag that will be raised on July 9 on Clifford Park, should visit each island," she said at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister.
"And each island will have an opportunity to raise it in a very, very brief ceremony...before the [flag] continues its journey."
In a proclamation signed by Prime Minister Perry Christie, yesterday commenced the start of the 40-day countdown, which will end on July 9.
From now until Independence Day, a number of events will take place, including National Pride Day and a National Cultural Concert, both on July 5.
According to the prime minister's proclamation, "the 40th anniversary of independence will culminate on historic Clifford Park on July 9, 2013 with exciting performances by the cultural community, precision drills by youth and adult marching bands, and the re-enactment of historically significant elements from the first Independence Day in 1973."
Thompson previously said the festivities at Clifford Park will be the "mother of all celebrations".
He shied away from giving further details about the event.
This year's theme "The Journey Continues" will focus on the strides The Bahamas has made since 1973 when it become an independent nation.
"We encourage Bahamians and residents everywhere to catch this independence fever," Thompson said.
"But I want to preface my remarks by extending my sympathy to those residents who experienced flooding."
He noted that many Bahamians are going through hard times and may not be able to afford to decorate their homes with the colors of the flag.
"But we want to encourage people to start to wear the colors, to drape the buildings and start to get in the [independence] spirit," Thompson said. For more information on independence events visit www.bahamas.gov.bs or contact the Independence Secretariat at 356-2100.
Basil 'Ryne Duren' Hall has passed on into eternity.
Godfrey 'Goofy' Brown was one of the long-time sports buffs who called with the news on Tuesday morning. He informed of regular get-togethers in the evenings with Hall and others of the old gang such as Bobby 'Elgin Baylor' Fernander and Sammy Chisholm.
That was Hall's element. Much of his time involved playing or talking sports. The "playing" stopped but the talking went on until the final silencing.
He was well-equipped to do both. In the words of American Football legend Jimmy Johnson, Hall, for many years, "walked the walk and talked the talk." The sports landscape was indeed his life. Now we have only the memories.
His buddies from way back will recall the young lad with the fireball arm who dazzled batters with a ferocious fastball. They will also remember the erratic nature of his deliveries at the outset. Batters had to be very apprehensive because the ball could get away and end up out of the general plate zone. Outside was not a problem, but the ones that 'Duren' missed inside were of concern. It was no fun at all to get plunked by one of Hall's fastball.
So, they nicknamed him 'Duren' after the Major League reliever Ryne Duren. The great Yankee manager Casey Stengel reportedly once said of Ryne Duren:
"I wouldn't want to bat against him because getting hit in the head would put you in past tense. That's how batters felt about our 'Duren' for a while, but, the speedster settled down and over the years missed the zone less and less.
He continued season after season and was like good wine. Asa Ferguson who knew Hall throughout his years in baseball, said "high and low, 'Duren' was one of the better pitchers in Bahamian history."
"Basil started with City Lumber at Clifford Park with Penny Bain and that group. I tell you, I always thought of him as one of the better pitchers. When he came to pitch, there were few in his league. In his later years, he was a terrific clutch pitcher. I remember him well in some close games when he was with us (Schlitz Beer) one season. You could count on him to close the door against batters," said Ferguson.
Certainly, Hall's career which spanned decades was significant in the history of Bahamian baseball. He knew his craft and was very keen about it. What set him apart from others though was his willingness to always teach and explain the game to youngsters and anyone who wanted to listen.
Yes, the pitcher with the big stride and the overpowering fastball who knew also how to finesse certain batters, is gone. However, he will always have his niche in the rich baseball legacy of The Bahamas.
Condolences go out to son Marcellus Hall and the rest of the immediate family. May his soul forever rest in peace.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)
The Ministry of Tourism is on board with the '40 Greatest' project planned by the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) for later this year. BBF President Charlie 'Softly' Robins admitted recently to being excited about the way the project has evolved.
"You know, I intended initially to just honor the '40 Greatest' as a part of our championship tournament in May. However, this thing has grown legs of its own and has become something very big. The first real understanding for me of the vastness of the concept was when the Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe, indicated clearly to me that his ministry will support the affair.
"He expressed himself on the project shortly after the news got out. In the following weeks the subject of the '40 Greatest' has become constant in the capital and the second city. My understanding is that even in the United States, people like Carter Lightbourne and Lynden Rose are enthused and prepared to be a part of the affair," said Robins.
Robins has named his secretary general Clifford Rahming as the point person. Rahming has had a series of meetings and according to him, the "structure of the week of activities" is almost complete.
"We have done a lot of work to date. Early on, the president used a small unit to jump-start the project. With the launch, now all of the executives and officers have pledged to play important roles. They will all have portfolios. We are ready to move and complete the structure for the week of activities, and we plan a grand time to be had by all, a fun time, an enjoyable period," said Rahming.
He informed also that 80 of the names to be considered will be announced during championship weekend in May and the final cut of 40 will be made public about two to three weeks before banquet night.
"We will do an elimination in conjunction with an accounting firm to get down to the 80 names. Then the process will continue to come up with the '40 Greatest' from which will come the top five players of all time," Rahming further disclosed.
The living basketball legend Mychal 'Sweet Bells' Thompson will be the special guest for the week of activities.
o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the guidance of president Charlie "Softly" Robins, the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) is charting a proactive, innovative program that could very well enable the sport to reclaim the once great popularity it had with the Bahamian public.
There was a time during the late 1960s and 1970s when "BABA" as the then Bahamas Amateur Basketball Association was known, topped the popularity sports ladder in this country. The noted disciplinarian, Vince Ferguson, was the long-standing president and he drove the organization to great heights.
Ferguson and his executive colleagues were forward thinkers and they hit a milestone with an office base at the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. Exciting competition was synonymous with BABA. The glorious era was sparked by the marquee match-ups between the fabled teams, Kentucky Colonels that evolved out of the St. Bernard's Club and the ultimate mentor Father Marcian Peters; and the Cougars, started by a group of young Priory Grounds residents, Fred "Papa" Smith and company.
It was a special period in the sports history of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The man of the time who steered the national basketball program was Ferguson, despite his controversial side. It was a feel good time in Bahamian sports.
In recent decades, the luster faded from the national basketball program and league play slipped from its high popularity pedestal. Now, with Robins and Secretary Clifford Rahming leading the way, the basketball program is being rebranded. An event to honor the "40 greatest" basketball icons could very well launch a new era of basketball in the country.
When Robins first put his name forward for consideration as president of basketball several years ago, it was an encouraging sign for the sport. Quite frankly however, Robins was never able to catapult the program. The blast-off that was expected during his first term never came.
Now though, President Robins is being innovative. The idea, an event of substance, will push his organization into the spotlight. Robins, Rahming and the rest of the executives appear to be making a strong effort to devise a thorough marketing plan for the federation. The proposed event will no doubt spark new interest among those presently involved in basketball. It will succeed also in reconnecting fraternity members of the past, their family and supporters to basketball in the present era.
Robins was arguably the most exciting basketball player in Bahamian history. He rocked gyms over and over and bonded with all spectators, (whether they favored his team or not), like few others. Hopefully, he is now minded to bring that same on-court pizzazz to his administrative responsibilities. If he does, Robins will certainly emulate the job done by Ferguson and perhaps go beyond.
Best wishes and congratulations Softly! Congratulations to the BBF!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
I remember quite well, the period during the 1960s when the Batelco Radars was one of the best softball teams in the country. It was a pivotal era. The ethnic gap in the game of softball was about to be totally bridged. Traditional softball competition at Garfunkel Field, that saw the participation of few black players, was transforming into league play at the new John F. Kennedy Drive Park.
Prior to that change, the Southern Recreation Grounds (now Cannon William Thompson Park) was where a large number of black players performed. On Sundays, the Southern Recreation Grounds (SRG) was one of the main venues of activities for black athletes.
At the same time, many of them were playing cricket or soccer at Clifford Park, Windsor Park or St. George's Park. The SRG enjoyed that kind of popularity and the Radars were the softball darlings of the time. The top players evolved as stars, household names. When visiting the SRG, most often, fans watched Brian "Boldie" Gibson, the last of the great underhand delivery specialists.
He was the star pitcher of the Radars. Then, there was Russell Franks who was an avid athlete and a bit of a socialite. He was one of the original Radars. The peers of Gibson and Franks included Anthony "Boots" Weech, Keith "Muggins" Archer and Audley "Congo" Williams, who also thinks of himself as one of the better whist players in the country. Well, the jury remains out on that one.
They were a part of the catalyst group that contributed to etching the name Batelco Radars into Bahamian softball history.
A few years behind the aforementioned stalwarts but significant, nevertheless, to the tradition of the Radars, was Charles "Chuck" Mackey. The 1960s and 1970s were special decades in the development of softball in the country. The Radars, through the outreach connections of it players, had much to do with the expansion of softball into commercial and recreational play.
These days, Williams is still as boastful as ever, Weech remains quiet but profound and Muggins forever the supreme unionist, all of them still in love with the game of softball. Boldie gave us a scare a while ago. He was fading rapidly, but through the power of the Almighty, he is back, seemingly as vibrant as ever.
The same can't be said for Franks and Mackey. They are both facing challenges and are greatly incapacitated in comparison to the active individuals we once knew.
It was thus a fitting gesture, when the Radars decided to pay tribute to their colleagues. Weech first mentioned the plan to me and I thought it a great idea. This past weekend a social bash was held at the home of Archer, in Imperial Park, and it was a great reunion of Radars, honoring two of their very own.
This is a special moment in time in Bahamian sports history.
More and more, organizations are recognizing the importance of connecting the generations by bringing back into the spotlight those who made a positive sports difference. Now, a little bit more is known about Franks and Mackey.
Best wishes to them!
o To Respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bahamian film maker, Calvin Harris is nearing completion of his documentary film called
"On the Wings of Men" about the Life & Times
of the late Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling.
In this film he interviews many political figures from The Bahamas. Enclosed are photos and excerpts of his interview
Sir Clifford Arthur of
Harris' film is set to be released in late 2010...
Sir Lynden Pindling is the greatest politician in modern Bahamian history. He took charge of our "first" political party in the 1950s and led it to victory in 1967. He then held power for 25 years. During that time, the Pindling-led government built many of the institutions of government we now take for granted.
Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie were "pupils" of Sir Lynden. Both served as Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) members of Parliament and Cabinet ministers. They were fired together in 1984 from Sir Lynden's Cabinet. Ingraham and Christie survived as independents in 1987 and both eventually became prime minister -- Ingraham three times and Christie once.
This election campaign has been a battle. Ingraham and Christie, the PLP and Free National Movement (FNM), have given every effort to win. Ingraham and the FNM even used an excerpt of Sir Lynden's farewell address in the House of Assembly in 1997 to further their cause. In it Sir Lynden described Ingraham as "the most illustrious protégé of mine thus far".
Sir Lynden's widow, Dame Marguerite Pindling, and the PLP have taken issue with this.
"I will never forget -- and I know Sir Lynden never forgot -- how mean Mr. Ingraham was to us back then when we were at our lowest point," said Dame Marguerite at a PLP rally Friday night at Clifford Park referring to the period after the 1992 general election when the FNM defeated the PLP.
"It was so cruel and so unnecessary. Mr. Ingraham had already won, so why was it necessary to be so ungracious and so unkind? Sir Lynden was very deeply hurt by that. He really couldn't understand it. Neither could I."
Dame Marguerite went on further to say that Sir Lynden passed the torch on to Christie, referring to the current PLP leader as his rightful heir.
Sir Lynden was so dominant and successful a politician that success is what will earn his protégés the title of heir. Just being handed the leadership of the PLP is not enough to qualify anyone to be heir to our longest serving prime minister.
Thus far Ingraham has won three general elections. Christie has only won one. If Ingraham wins the 2012 general election, without question, he is Sir Lynden's heir. By doing so for the forth time and in the wake of the Great Recession, a roadwork debacle and a crime problem, Ingraham would demonstrate that he has made a similar deep connection to the electorate as Sir Lynden -- that connection being that Bahamians think these leaders are more worthy than any of their contemporaries for an entire generation.
For Christie to be in the discussion regarding who is Sir Lynden's heir, he has to win this election. With all the challenges the FNM has faced this term, the PLP has all the ammunition it needs to win. If it does not, it is likely because not enough Bahamian people think Christie is the right man to run the country.
Funeral Service for Mr. Bersil Sidney Duvalier age 58 years of Montgomery Ave. formerly of Pirates Well, Mayguana will be held at Zion Yamacraw Baptist Church on Saturday August 27th at 11am. Officiating will be Rev. howard T.G. Smith assisted by other ministers and internment will follow in the Woodlawn Gardens Cemetery.
Left to cherish his fond memories are: His loving, caring and devoted wife Muriel, one daughter, Shonell Duvalier Butler, one son-in-law, Kevin Butler, one grand son, Kavaughn Butler. Mother, Ethlyn Brown Williams, Six sisters Beatrice Williams, Bronell Humes, Laslelle Moxey, Veranique Moxey, Elva Williams, Katrina Moxey, Six brothers Alexander and Perry Williams, Haymish and Clarence Moxey, Patrick McPhee and Toney Lewis. Mother-in-law, Pastor Irene Charlton. Sisters-in-Law, Dorcena Nixon, Edith Tynes, Jacqueline Bain, Iris Depass, Janet and Rev. Judy Charlton, Lavern McPhee, Christina Williams and Sandra Robinson. Brothers-in-Law, Roy and McDonald Charlton, Bishop Karven Bain, Christopher Nixon Sr. Micheal Tynes and Anthony Humes.
Numerous nieces and nephews including: Edvardo Charlton, Antonio Murphy, Enoch Thurston, Adam and Amad Ferguson, Ayesha Charlton, Euradicia Rahming, Makeeda and Tyra Thurston, Andrewnique Black and Tanya Rolle,Valentino, Ryan and Kedron Williams, Rovel Curry, Anishka Smith, Sasha Rolle, Oparah, Desiree and Alexandria Williams, Tonia Colebrooke, Stacey, Nickya, Shanae and Travis Demeritte and Antonio Humes and Karina Glinton.
Relatives and Friends: Jocelyn Pratt, Eloise Jones, Daphanie and Nishad Menon, Lashelle, Sheldon, Sherrel, Sheric King, Trevor Munroe and Lashan McKenzie, Stafford Bain, Cornilus Collie and Family, Marie and Hayward McKinney & Family, The Hon. Sidney Collie M.P., The Hon, V. Alfred Gray M.P MICAL, The Hon. Bradley Roberts, M.P., Mildred Williamson & Family, James Murphy, Dr. Janet Patterson & Family, Violey McKinney & Family, Eddins Taylor, Earnal Brown & Family, Limas Taylor, Norwood Rahming & Family, Yergan Williamson, Ester Barry, Donna Brown and Family, Patrick, Eric, Sheldon and Berkly Collie, Thelma Deleveaux, Emaline Moss, Ned Brooks, Livingstone Gibson, Vernice Brooks, Reginald Charlton & Family, Lionel and Burntle (Mac) Charlton, Verly Mckinney & Family, Toney Lewis and Family, Hiram Kelly, Deon and Daphanie Moss, Nora McCalla & Family, Ivy Charlton, Pastor Clifford & Edith McKinney, Margaret Rahming, Valda Rolle & Family, Silvia Forbes, Angie Ferguson & Family, Alfreda Hepburn & Family, Linda Ward & Family, Linda Fernander, Milton Mckinney, Desmond Collie and Family The Staff and Patients of The Dialysis Unit Princess Margaret Hospital, The Staff of: d'Albenas Agency, Coin of The Realm, Continental Foods, Bahamas Couriers Ltd., Star Trek Meat Mart, The Principal & Staff of E. P. Roberts Primary School and The Communities of Abraham's Bay, Pirates Well and Betsy Bay, Mayaguana.
Friends may pay their respect at Demeritte's Funeral Home on Friday from 10 am to 6pm and on Saturday at the church from 10 am until service time.