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Hanna pledges unity; Seventh Governor-General also pledges to 'sow the seeds of peace'

by Linsday Thompson

Pledging to unite all Bahamians and to foster in them a spirit of patriotism, His Excellency Arthur Dion Hanna, 77, became the seventh Governor-General of an independent Bahamas.

During the swearing-In ceremony in the ballroom at Government House yesterday, Mr. Hanna told those assembled that he was deeply appreciative of the opportunity to further serve his beloved country.

In expressing confidence in Mr. Hanna, Prime Minister Perry Christie said, “50 years on, having already served our nation in so many different ways at so many important levels, it is truly wonderful that this warrior for freedom and nationhood, this builder of the modern Bahamas, this elder statesman of the first rank, this patriot par excellence, has once again answered the call to duty.”

Present during the historic occasion among Mr. Hanna’s family members were former Governors-General Sir Clifford Darling, Sir Orville Turnquest, and Dame Ivy Dumont, who left office on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 as the first woman Governor-General and the sixth to hold the post.

In the interim, Paul Adderley served as Acting Governor-General, to whom the Prime Minister said he was most grateful for his service.

Also in attendance were members of the diplomatic corp, leaders of the Official Opposition; Cabinet Ministers; members of the Senate, the House of Assembly; the Judiciary, high government officials and residents of Ann’s Town, the constituency once represented by Mr. Hanna.

The ceremony was filled with the pomp and circumstance befitting such an honour, with an Honour Guard party comprising members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Royal Bahamas Police Force, and a 21 Gun Salute.

And, after Mr. Hanna was sworn in by Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall, and took the Oath of Office, he pledged to serve Her Majesty The Queen, and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Credited as one of the framers of The Constitution and the ‘architect of Bahamianisation,’ Mr. Hanna said, “All my life I have sought to serve my country to the very best of my ability and to do so with integrity and high purpose.”

In his address, Mr. Hanna explained that that sense of purpose is what inspired him to join the battle against injustice more than 50 years ago and it is that same feeling that continues to inspire him in the twilight of his career in public life.

“I am deeply conscious of the important duties that now press hard upon me,” His Excellency said. “It is fitting, therefore, that I enter into a covenant with the Bahamian people as I assume the high office to which I have now been called.”

In this vein, he pledged to do all in his power to unite Bahamians and “to sow the seeds of peace so that all the people of our nation, be they rich, black or white, city dweller or Family Islander, can be brought ever closer to a harvest of social harmony and happy concord.”

Mr. Hanna also called Bahamians into a sense of patriotism, service above self, love of country, love and respect for each other.

“These are the virtues that I shall seek always to instil in our people, especially our young, for I know only too well that in our nation today the virtues of which I speak stand in need of replenishment and renewal as never before,” he said.

According to Prime Minister Christie, Mr. Hanna came a long way from Pompey Bay, Acklins to Government House on Mt. Fitzwilliam.

“On an ordinary map of The Bahamas it may not seem all that far away but on a map charting our progress as a people, it’s a mighty long way,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted that it is a way measured not in miles but in the struggles and sacrifices of the great men and women who made a way for future generations with their brilliance, courage, faith, compassion, integrity and patriotism.

“One such man who stands as an icon of that era of struggle and sacrifice is His Excellency the Hon. Arthur Dion Hanna,” the Prime Minister said.

It was 50 years ago, Mr. Christie continued, that Mr. Hanna entered wholeheartedly into the struggle, with a fortitude and uncompromising adherence to principle that inspired not only his comrades-in-arms but also the generation that followed.

“The intellectual purity of Arthur D. Hanna, his compassion for the poor, his high principles and his incorruptibility, demonstrated to all of us that politics could indeed be a noble calling,” the Prime Minister said. He also credited Beryl Hanna whom he placed amongst the great men and women, as being instrumental in the struggle for Majority Rule.

The ceremony ended with His Excellency inspecting the Guard of Honour followed by a reception, which comprised an array of native dishes, some popular in Mr. Hanna’s birthplace, Acklins.

Arthur Dion Hanna was born on March 7, 1928 to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hanna. He attended the Government High School in Nassau and continued his studies at the University of Bristol and Inner Temple in the United Kingdom. After obtaining his law degree, he was called to the Bahamas Bar in 1955. Mr Hanna joined the Progressive Liberal Party in March 1956 and eventually served as Member of Parliament for Ann’s Town until he lost the seat in the 1992 General Elections.

Under the Progressive Liberal Party Government, Mr. Hanna’s Cabinet posts included Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Trade and Industry, and Home Affairs.

Mr. Hanna is married to Beryl Church of Bristol, England and they have four surviving children Arthur Dion, Mark Lindsay, Glenys, and Dawn Victoria. Their fourth child, Sean David died Christmas Day, December 25, 2005. Mr. Hanna’s hobbies include fishing, boating and tending fruit trees on his farm.

OATH OF OFFICE — The newly-appointed Governor General His Excellency Arthur D. Hanna takes the Oath of Office as the seventh Governor General of The Bahamas on Wednesday at Government House. At right is Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall.


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