BAHAMAS INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATED IN GRAND STYLE IN D.C.

Posted on: July 12, 2016

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 43rd anniversary of The Bahamas’ attainment of independence from Great Britain was celebrated in the Washington, D.C. area in grand style over the weekend with a series of events highlighted by a Bahamian High Tea and Concert at the Hyatt in Bethesda on Independence Day, Sunday, July 10, that featured a sensational performance by the Bahamian gospel ensemble Shaback.

Bahamians in the diaspora were joined by a well-represented cross-section of diplomats and members of the Washington, D.C.-area business community as His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, and Ms. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., welcomed guests to a reception held in the ballroom of the Hyatt on Friday night, the first of four events.

Representing the Government of The Bahamas at the celebrations was Ms. Cleola Hamilton, MP for South Beach and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who also delivered welcoming remarks.

The evening included an art exhibition featuring the works of Mr. Patrick Delaney, a Bahamian who lives in Maryland; a delectable buffet of mainly Bahamian food; entertainment by Dillion McKenzie (D-MAC) and a performance by Shaback, capped by a Junkanoo rush-out by the Junkanoo Gawds group.

On Saturday afternoon scores of Bahamians and friends of The Bahamas continued the country’s independence celebrations at a picnic organized by the Bahamian American Association in the D.C. area and held on the grounds of the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Alexandria, Virginia, where Junkanoo Gawds again performed.

On Sunday morning the annual commemorative church service was held at the Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Northeast Washington, D.C.

Unquestionably, however, the highlight of the weekend celebrations was the High Tea and Concert, featuring a menu of Bahamian teas and confections.

Before the entertainment got underway, Mrs. Beth Stewart, proprietor of Beth’s Kitchen in Nassau, gave a brief talk on the various bush teas she produces, including stories about the purported benefits of Strongback, a bush tea which she claimed was used my parents in her native Exuma “to strengthen the backs of young boys who continued to wet their beds after a certain age.”

Mrs. Stewart had a collection of her various professionally packaged bush teas for sale at the event, as did Mrs. Bolera Glinton, whose BGG Creative Essentials business produces hand-made designer handbags.

In addition to the amazing performances by Shaback, who first performed several gospel songs and came back on stage later to close out the concert with a medley of traditional Bahamian songs, guests at the concert were also treated to exceptional performances by Opera Singer Bridgette Cooper, who has Bahamian roots in Eleuthera, and the gifted and talented Bahamian concert pianist Dion Cunningham, a graduate from the prestigious Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Music in Piano and a doctorate from the University of Maryland.

Shaback provided the music for what turned out to be dance fest with virtually every member of the audience participating before the concert came to a close with everyone singing The Bahamas National Anthem.

CAPTION ONE
His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, welcoming guests to the 43nd anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas’ attainment of independence reception in the ballroom of the Hyatt in Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday evening, July 8, 2016.

CAPTION TWO
Mrs. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., speaking at the 43nd anniversary celebrations of The Bahamas’ attainment of independence reception in the ballroom of the Hyatt in Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday evening, July 8, 2016.

CAPTION THREE
Clint Watson and Shaback performing at the Bahamian High Tea and Concert at the Hyatt in Bethesda on Independence Day, Sunday, July 10, 2016.

CAPTION FOUR
His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, speaking at the picnic held on the grounds of the U.S.Coast Guard Base in Alexandria, Virginia. At right is Ms. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., and second from left is Ms. Cleola Hamilton, MP for South Beach and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

CAPTION FIVE
Ms. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., and Ms. Cleola Hamilton, MP for South Beach and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined in the Junkanoo rush out by Junkanoo Gawds by at the picnic held on the grounds of the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Alexandria, Virginia.



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