Prime Minister Minnis addresses ceremonies at the British Colonial Hilton, today, where RBC Royal Bank pledged funds towards redevelopment of historic Southern Recreation Grounds. (BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)
The Bahamas – Prime Minister, Dr. the Most Hon. Hubert Minnis accepted a
donation from the Royal Bank of Canada towards the redevelopment of the
historic Southern Recreation Grounds – one of the projects under the
Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative.
initial sum of $10,000 collected by RBC employees, who wanted to
contribute to a local outreach community programme, was handed over to
The Over-the-Hill Community Development Foundation.
donation is said to be the forerunner to a larger donation that will be
made over the course of approximately the next six months. The
donation will be earmarked for the green technology component of the
Over-the-Hill revitalization programme.
a ceremony held on the green spaces at the British Colonial Hilton, on
Thursday, January 17, 2019 the Prime Minister thanked RBC for its
corporate-sponsored initiatives especially geared toward the nation’s
(BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)
Following the ceremony, the Prime
Minister, representatives from the Over the Hill Unit in the Office of
the Prime Minister and RBC took in a site visit to the Southern
Recreation Grounds where the redevelopment process was well underway.
Prime Minister said that Over-the-Hill, where the Southern Recreation
Grounds is located, is important to the cultural and historical
landscape of New Providence.
Recreation Grounds was one of the more accessible parks to the majority
of our people who lived in the area south of Gregory Arch that we know
“It is always important to
give some historical perspective, and to remind people, especially our
young people, of the rich history and heritage of The Bahamas,” the
Prime Minister said.
(BIS Photo/Yontalay Bowe)
The Prime Minister
recalled that it was on the Southern Recreation Grounds that so many
Bahamians over many generations gathered for recreational purposes, to
socialize and to play. Some also met under the silk cotton trees to
discuss the issues of the day.
Recreation Grounds became an important centre for the expression of a
new political awakening which started in the forties.
bandstand became a platform for the national heroes, and the public
speakers and thinkers of the new movement for change in the Colony,” he
Also, in 1942, thousands gathered at
Southern Recreation Grounds for what was a very tense meeting with the
representatives of the day during the Burma Road Riot.
1950, a new movement was launched at Southern Recreation Grounds by the
Citizens Committee when the Old Guard refused to allow a showing of the
movie “No Way Out”, which starred our own beloved Sidney Poitier.
During the General Strike of 1958, some of the public meetings were held at Southern Recreation Grounds.
was there that the late former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling led a
very large crowd after the confrontation on Bay Street on Black
Tuesday. And it was there that many political rallies were held leading
up to Majority Rule Day, which was celebrated on January 10.
the Southern Recreation Grounds was, perhaps, more than any other
public gathering place the principal theatre for the continuing
political and social drama of our times,” the Prime Minister said.
In restoring the Southern Recreation Grounds, we are revitalizing the Bahamian spirit and our collective memory.
for the Grounds are green spaces for picnics, cook-outs and concerts.
There will be storyboards and signage recalling the history of the
Grounds as a site of assembly for critical events in Bahamian history.
“The refurbished Grounds may serve as a classroom for students and
young Bahamians on the history of the modern Bahamas, including the
struggle for equality and freedom,” the Prime Minister said.
the new Southern Recreation Grounds will include areas for fitness and
health activities as well as outdoor and experiential educational
will be redesigned to incorporate and allow better access to nearby
facilities such as the Lillian Weir-Coakley Public Library.
features and amenities will include better-organized public parking
spaces, new playground equipment installed for children, an improved
basketball court, softball diamond and accommodating facilities.
new Southern Recreation Grounds will help to preserve our history.
These new Grounds will offer current and future generations a
transformed space to renew and restore their minds, spirits and bodies
in the heart of New Providence,” the Prime Minister said.