NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas is celebrating its 46th anniversary of political independence from Britain with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, urging greater collaboration among the population and also warning of the impact of climate change on the chain of islands.

In a televised message, Minnis said while the country has a diversity of different backgrounds, creeds and affiliation “we are one Bahamas.

‘We are bound together by the wonders and possibilities of our country. We are an archipelago or a quilt of industry, resilience and imagination,” he said, noting also the beauty of the country’s rich marine resources.

But he warned “we must ever be vigilant in preserving our bio-diversity, addressing pollution, protecting our marine and environment and resources and combating other environmental threats.

“With the historic challenge of the exhilarating and life-threatening effects of climate change, united we must stand to save our Bahamas from rising sea levels and other destructive effects of a warming planet.

“Climate change is a threat to our survival as a country and as a people,’ Minnis said, adding that it was also important for the country to preserve its rich cultural heritage.

“It is culture that makes us unique in God’s creation. It is our ability to express ourselves culturally and to celebrate the art forms that make us complete as individuals and as a nation,”’ he said, announcing a million-dollar fund “dedicated to supporting the development of Bahamian painters, writers, sculptors, filmmakers, artisans, playwrights, poets, musicians and performing artists involved in projects of cultural significance”.

Meanwhile, the United States has reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with the Bahamian government.

“We remain firmly committed to working closely with The Bahamas to increase the safety, prosperity and security of all of our citizens,” said US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo in a statement.

“On this joyous occasion, the United States wishes the people of The Bahamas many years of peace and prosperity. On behalf of the people of the United States, allow me to extend my warmest wishes to the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on the 46th anniversary of your independence on July 10, 2019,” Pompeo said.

He said the two countries “share a long history of close cultural, social, and economic ties, as well as a firm commitment to democratic and free-market principles.”

Washington said the partnership “continues to deepen, notably through the recently launched US-Caribbean Resilience Partnership; our close cooperation on trade, investment, and national security; and enduring people-to-people relationships”.