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June 9, 1998

A strong banking sector accompanied by robust tourism performance ranked at the top of successes that were the hallmark of The Bahamas, as the country's 25th anniversary of independence was celebrated in Washington on Wednesday evening.

"We have an interesting country.... The people of the Bahamas have always been friendly." On that note Sir Arlington Butler, Bahamas ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and to Washington, introduced his country' silver anniversary celebrations in Washington. Independence Day is Friday, July 10.

Ambassador Butler went on to tell the guests at the independence reception he hosted at the OAS' stately Hall of the Americas about some of the events being held in the commonwealth of islands to mark the national milestone, singling out the Bahamas Games and the national honors to be awarded 100 outstanding citizens. "The Bahamas--having become independent, having joined the OAS, the United Nations and other bodies--has been holding its own."

The brief formal proceedings got underway with Mrs. Sheila Carey, the deputy chief of the Bahamas diplomatic mission in Washington, welcoming guests and inviting Mr. Patrick Delaney who offered a hearty rendition of the Bahamian national anthem.

Sumptuous Bahamian hors d'oeuvres also formed part of the Bahamian silver jubilee showcase in Washington, which was enjoyed by the many Bahamians, OAS diplomats and Caribbean and other friends alike as they mingled at the reception.

The Bahamas has a population of 290,000 people and comprises some 700 islands that include the Watling Island where Columbus first set foot on land in the Western Hemisphere on October 12, 1492.

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