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(Photos) Bahamas Prime Minister attends Nelson Mandela's memorial
Dec 13, 2013 - 6:03:06 PM

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Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie with Brian Mulroney, Former Prime Minister of Canada. Mulroney was PM during the time of the Heads of Govt Meeting in Nassau, which was instrumental in crafting the Nassau Accord which saw Mandela freed. Looking on is Bahamas Tourism Minister, Obie Wilchcombe, and Bahamas Foreign Minister, Fred Mitchell. BIS photo: Peter Ramsay

SOUTH AFRICA - The Prime Minister of The Bahamas is in South Africa to pay his respects to the mortal remains of Nelson Mandela. He was accompanied by the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and the Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.

Tuesday, tens of thousands of people and world leaders paid homage to Mandela in a memorial service at a 95,000 seat soccer stadium in Soweto, Mandela's former home.  Known as the "calabash" for its bowl-like shape, the stadium has provided the venue for some monumental moments of Mandela's younger life, from his first major speech on his release from prison in 1990, to the opening match of the football World Cup hosted by South Africa in 2010.U.S.

Mandela had been transferred to Pretoria to be embalmed in preparation for three days of lying in state in the Union Buildings. Huge queues are expected to gather in the city, for a final glimpse of the beloved former leader in a glass-topped coffin, and arrangements are being made to keep the doors of the monument open to accommodate the flood of mourners.

From left: Thabo Mbeki, Former President, South Africa with Fred Mitchell, MP, Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt Hon. Perry G. Christe BIS photo: Peter Ramsay

Prime Minister Christie viewed the body as it lay in state at the Union Buildings, the administrative headquarters of South Africa and the place where Mr. Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first democratically elected president.

It should be noted that the Bahamas played a prominent role in the release of Nelson Mandela. Once released from prison, Mr Mandela came almost immediately to visit The Bahamas to personally thank former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling for his leadership in securing the release.In fact, Mr Mandela made two trips to the Bahamas.

Sir Lynden Pindling was chairman of CHOGM in 1985 which issued the "Nassau Accords" that led to Mr Mandela's release.

As a result of this close relationship, Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela as the second president of a democratic South Africa, made an official state visit to The Bahamas during his tenure as president in 2002.

Mr. Christie and entourage will leave Johannesburg on Thursday, and will arrive home on Friday.

Prime Minister Christie (left) seen with President of Haiti, Michel Martelly (center) BIS photo: Peter Ramsay

From left: Fred Mitchell, Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister greets F W De Klerk, the last Africaner President of South Africa who freed Nelson Mandela unconditionally in 1990. Former President of Mozambique Joaquim looks on.(Photo: BIS/Peter Ramsay)

From left: Fred Mitchell, MP, Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs with Bahamas Prime Minister, Perry Christie; and Prime Minister of New Zealand. (Photo: BIS/Peter Ramsay)


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