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

by Lins­day Thomp­son
BAHAMAS INFORMATION SERVICE [1]

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.