Restoration promised for Bimini

ALICE TOWN, Bimini – Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie assured residents on this island known as “TheGateway to The Bahamas,” that the developments would go on as planned, in the face of recent tragic events.

The Prime Minister made the promise at a memorial service held by the government and the Bahamas Christian Council at Bayfront Park in Alice Town on Wednesday, December 28, 2005, for the 11 residents who died when the Chalks Ocean AirwaysFlight 101 crashed shortly after take-off from Miami on Monday, December 19.

“Remember, Biminites, you have been the gateway to our country. You have demonstrated the work of our economy. You have demonstrated and proven for our country that service has given us a way of life that we ought to commit ourselves to,” the Prime Minister said.

“You have been leaders and you are called upon again to demonstrate in all your pain, in all your suffering that you are also leaders in your commitment and belief that the Lord would not have placed on you a burden that you cannot bear,” he added.

The 11 residents who were among a total of 20 who perished on the flight are Jacqueline Stuart-Levarity, 39; Sabre’a Dean, four months; Sabrena Dean, 31; Barto Dean, 32; Sophia Sherman, 38; Bethany Sherman, 16 months; Donald Smith, 65; Neisha Fox, 18; Jervis Stuart, 15 months; Genevieve Ellis, 64; and Carolyn Burke, 60, an American. The incident happened at Government Cut, a channel used by cruise ships to enter Miami Port.

“We now have 11 of you who lost your lives, plus one adopted citizen, plus others who have made this a place for recreations,” the Prime Minister said. “Yes, unexpected though it was, painful though it is, I am to remind you that the people of Bimini have had to call upon their spirit before.”

The Prime Minister noted that Bimini lost 10 lives in the devastating Hurricane of 1935. He said it is that “indomitable spirit” that he has seen moments after a hurricane and it is that strength that has distinguished The Bahamas worldwide despite the odds.

The Prime Minister said that although residents of Bimini are experiencing a “handicapping” moment, it is a constant reminder that The Bahamas is a blessed country and God will see them through.

“That is what is expected of each of you today; that as we suffer, to know that we have come here again to demonstrate that our country suffers with you,” the Prime Minister said. “That we were with you then, we are with you now and in those moments when you wonder where the help will come from, we will be with you.”

Rev. Dr. William Thompson, president of the Bahamas Christian Council, led a number of clergy in offering messages of hope to the grief-stricken residents of Bimini. “Our prayer is that this God of hope and of life would calm your spirits and your hearts,” he said.

Also speaking at the memorial were Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament for West End and Bimini the Hon Obie Wilchcombe; Mr. Alvin Smith, MP for North Eleuthera, representing the Official Opposition Free National Movement; Pastor Dexter Rolle, president, Christian Council of Bimini; Bishop Benjamin Rolle, Pastor Angelo Rolle, Wesley Methodist Church, Rev Dr. Stanley Pinder, Father Roderick Bain, Bishop Neil Ellis, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, and United States Congressman Kendrick Meek.

The memorial ended with the Last Post and Revelle sounded by the Royal Bahamas Police Force Trio.

Funeral services for deceased were held during the weekend of Friday, December 30, 2005.

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