*BFSB extends Congratulations to the **Commonwealth of The Bahamas** on its **35th Anniversary Celebrations**!*

In a National Address, the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister, acknowledged the anniversary as a significant milestone in the life of a young nation, while extending best wishes for a Happy Anniversary to Bahamians everywhere.

He took the opportunity to comment on the state of the economy: *”This year we mark the anniversary of our nationhood during a period of considerable unease in the global community. Indeed, external challenges are increasing, especially with regard to trade issues, environmental concerns, the supply of energy and the cost of food.”*

He asked that Bahamians recall the past and build upon the traditions, customs and institutions that serve as the foundation of the country. *”We are fortunate to have a strong foundation.”* he said.

Since 1973 The Commonwealth of The Bahamas has jealously guarded the institutions that served it well in the colonial era; institutions that were the instruments of historic social and political changes, and then the transformation from colony to independent state. *”So,”* said the Prime Minister, *”as we celebrate this 35th anniversary of our independence, it is right for us to renew our commitment to guard and defend our institutions and the principles that give life and meaning to them; specifically:

“Our parliamentary institutions represent the will and desire of the Bahamian people to be governed by representatives chosen from among the citizens in free and democratic processes.

“Our judicial institutions represent our firm commitment to the rule of law that guarantees access to due process and fair judgment for all our citizens and, indeed, for the stranger within our gates.”*

The Prime Minister also spoke to other institutions that should be celebrated, including the array of social, cultural, commercial, industrial, sports and charitable organizations and associations. These, he said, are indispensable to the healthy growth and development of a nation and represent the best of a free people at work and play and nation building.

Prime Minister concluded his Independence Day address with a special message to The Bahamas:

*”We are a talented people, we are a resourceful people, we are a cultured people; and if we draw on all our talents, all our resources and all our cultural strength, we will be able to meet the multitude of challenges that face us from without and from within. I believe that if we as a people delve deep into our positive cultural roots we will successfully meet and overcome the internal challenges we face. The vast majority of Bahamians, including our young people, are on the right track and doing the right things, and I believe the future will be safe with them. We must let them know that; we must encourage and celebrate them. So strengthened, we will also face external challenges, craft and implement programmes to deal with them, and together build a better future for all our people.”*

**Road to Independence**

In December 1972, at Marlborough House in London, a delegation of elected representatives of the Bahamian people sat down with representatives of the British Government to agree the terms of a new Constitution for the Islands of The Bahamas.

It was the third such constitutional conference; the first in 1963 introduced responsible ministerial government to the system for the first time.

A second conference in 1969 further extended Bahamian control over its internal affairs, but it was the 1972 conference which dealt with full independence for what was still a colony of Great Britain.

The colony became a sovereign and independent state on July 10th, 1973 and assumed full responsibility for all its affairs and for all its relations with others in the community of nations.