School children gathered at Independence Park in Freeport, Grand Bahama last week to join in the “One Bahamas” celebrations; a celebration that is said to be aimed at boosting the spirit of unity and patriotism among Bahamians.
Back in 1992, under the Free National Movement (FNM) government, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture initiated the One Bahamas celebrations to “emphasize the things that bind the people of The Bahamas together in love and unity.”
This year the celebrations resumed after five years of no celebrations.
Now it is interesting to note that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was governing the country these past five years when One Bahamas was not being celebrated.
Is it possible that the PLP did not continue this national celebration during their five years in office because it was not their idea?
Or did they not believe in “boosting the spirit of unity and patriotism among Bahamians?”
Like the FNM government, the PLP government came up with an idea that they thought would be good for uniting and empowering many Bahamians.
They called their idea “Urban Renewal.”
Unlike the One Bahamas celebrations, this programme involved more people and did a wonderful job of strengthening the human spirit.
So are these two governments playing tit for tat with the hearts and minds of the Bahamian people?
How can the FNM talk about building the spirit of unity among Bahamians when one of the first things they did in May 2007 was move to squash the Urban Renewal programme?
Similarly, how can the PLP talk about wanting to empower the people, when they did away with a wonderful celebration of life and culture when they took office in 2002?
These actions from both political parties make it very clear that we need to rely on ourselves for spiritual renewal, empowerment and cultural expression.
Every five years when the political season is in full swing, the ultimate swing begins.
The major political parties put forth their best lyrics as they woo us to vote for them.
Once the die has been cast, it’s “later for you baby.”
It is therefore high time for Bahamians to look to themselves to make their sun shine.
Funny how one political party actually thought it took them coming to power for the sun to shine on this land.
Before them, ZNS claimed that only the sun covered us better than they did.
But I say to all of them, only the Son will provide my sunshine.
Who’s providing your sun?
I suggest you do not allow the rhetoric of the day to sway you, lest you surely will die of sunstroke.
The Minister of State for Culture along with his entourage recently took a walk along the route for Junior Junkanoo.
I’m not sure what it was that they were inspecting since Bay Street has not widened or changed in any other way since last year, but the façade continues to build.
Yes, as this year draws nigh the pretense from all political sides continues to mount while the violence and social ills escalate.
As we look forward to 2008 it is apparent that we must not look to anyone but ourselves for the necessary change.
Begin with “me” and all else will fall in place.
We cannot waste valuable time blaming church and state.
Once we decide to do away with our own ugliness a change will come.
In a few weeks we will be making resolutions for the new year.
Why not start a few weeks early.
Start by cleaning out the unwanted elements of your being to make space for a brand spanking new you.
Yes, it will be difficult and painful at times, but we all know the adage that nothing good comes easy.
This week I challenge you to turn a deaf ear to the political rhetoric and sweet talk.
Rather, turn on your inner ear and listen to your heart.
Follow the spirit within and be true to yourself.
About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at