NASSAU, The Bahamas – A Royal Toast was the height of the evening during the Governor General’s Reception for the Official Visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the Occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration.
The reception was held at Baha Mar Convention Centre on Friday, March 25, 2022. It was an evening filled with glitz and glamour, a walk-through exhibition of photographs depicting Her Majesty The Queen’s moments here in The Bahamas, along with prime ministers and officials.
Entertainment was provided by the National Youth Choir, the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, and singer Alia Coley.
Despite torrential rain throughout the day, the reception closed out a full schedule of activity for the duke and duchess beginning with a visit to Sybil Strachan Primary School, meeting frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19 in the Garden of Remembrance, witnessing a Junkanoo rush-out downtown Nassau, and regatta at Montagu foreshore.
Bringing remarks at the reception were His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, who also raised the Royal Toast to Her Majesty, The Queen; the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and HRH Prince
“I am indeed delighted and I am very pleased to welcome all of you to this reception of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. It gives me great pleasure, however, on this occasion on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to extend a special welcome to their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to The Bahamas.”
The governor general said he was certain that he was speaking for every citizen when he heartily welcomed Their Royal Highnesses on their visit, which was eagerly anticipated. He said he was also certain that they encountered Bahamians from all walks of life and experienced the renowned friendliness and hospitality amidst the beauty of sun, sand and sea.
The governor general quoted the Preamble of The Constitution, which states… “And whereas the people of this Family of Islands recognize the preservation of their freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to self-discipline, industry, loyalty, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the Rule of Law.”
To him, he said: these words encompass the very heart and mind of Bahamians. And, they represent the constant strivings towards the observance of the high ideals, values and principles that make Bahamians a proud people.
“We in The Bahamas therefore highly value our special relationship with the United Kingdom, and your visit further emphasizes the friendship, which so meaningfully binds us together,” he told Their Royal Highnesses.
The Royal Family has been visiting The Bahamas since 1959 on 17 occasions; and of those visits, seven were by Queen Elizabeth II — grandmother of Prince William.
“Now although all those visits by the Royal Family were not all official, they all served to further knit the common thread which embraces our unity and our respect. They contributed positively to strengthening and deepening the bonds of unity, love and friendship which exist,” he said.
He said it was important to note that it was Her Majesty’s’ attendance at the October 1985 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in The Bahamas which marked the historic signing of the Nassau Accord.
This formed the foundation of the efforts of the Commonwealth that led to the release from jail of Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid.
Regarding Climate Change, global warming and rising sea levels facing Small Island Developing States like The Bahamas — the governor general said the planet is faced with a multiplicity of challenges which can only be successfully overcome through united efforts. These are coupled with the threat to ecosystems, coral reefs and the natural marine environment.
These, he said require the “collective will and the determined efforts of all nations working together.” The governor general then lauded the efforts of Prince William in the global fight against environmental degradation and Climate Change, which he said are highly welcomed.
Prince William again commended Prime Minister Davis on his speech delivered at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, held in Glasgow, Scotland, last November. “Your powerful speech in Glasgow drew attention to the urgency of the crisis and gave a voice to Small Island States most vulnerable to climate change the world over.”
The prince also said he was happy to share a message from The Queen on her 70th anniversary on the throne. “I am delighted to convey to you a message of good wishes from my grandmother, The Queen of The Bahamas on the Occasion of her Platinum Jubilee,” he said, adding that she has fond memories of visiting The Bahamas.
He said he and the duchess were delighted to have visited The Bahamas, and that two days were not enough. They hoped to return with their children.
It was the first Royal Visit for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the region, March 19-26, which took in Belize and Jamaica; The Bahamas the last stop.