By SIMON LEWIS
Bahamas Information Services
FREEPORT, G.B. – Both Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie and Education Minister the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald are fully committed to science and technology throughout the country, said Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville.
Dr. Darville’s comments came as he officially opened the 15th Annual SECME Mousetrap Car and Bottle Rocket Competition at the St. Georges High School on Thursday, March 28. The event is attracting participants from schools throughout Grand Bahama.
According to one of the event organisers, Dennis Knowles, SECME was established in 1975 as the South Eastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering by the engineering deans at six Southeastern universities.
SECME, according to Mr. Knowles, has since grown into the largest pre-college alliance in the United States, bringing together 40 universities, 70 industries and government agencies, and 107 school systems representing 900 schools and 20,000 students in 17 states plus the District of Columbia.
It now reaches beyond the Southeast to include school systems in New York, Indiana, Jamaica and The Bahamas.
The winning Senior and Junior teams in the competition will travel to Emery-Riddle Aeronautical University and its College of Engineering in Daytona Beach, Florida, where they will compete at the 37th Annual SECME National Student Engineering Competition. That event is schedule for June 16-23.
Addressing a large group of participants assembled in the St. George’s High School Gymnasium, Dr. Darville who, in addition to his medical career, is also a Canadian trained engineer, said he truly understands the importance of science and technology and what it means to the overall growth and development of the country, especially Grand Bahama, regarded as the industrial capital of The Bahamas.
“As Minister for Grand Bahama I have seen first hand the importance of technical training and how it is tied directly to our economic growth and development.
“Our vibrant industrial sector is certainly playing a vital role in job creation but now we must all put our best foot forward to ensure that we develop the manpower resources to capitalise on these new and exciting jobs,” he stated.
Minister Darville noted that companies like Grand Bahama Power, the Bahamas Oil Refining Company, Grand Bahama Ship Yard and the Grand Bahama Container Port, are all projecting growth in the industrial sectors over the next 10 to 15 years.
“They are also recommending career paths in science and technology for our high school students is a must, and they are constantly expressing the need for young professionals in all engineering disciplines.
“As public servants, educators, councillors we must capitalise on what is happening in our local economy and encourage our students to choose careers in science and technology and ultimately capitalise on these well paying jobs that will become available,” he stated.
Dr. Darville to commended the committed organisers of the program me “who have taken the bull by the horn for many years.”
He said about five years ago he was introduced to the programme at the Professional Engineer’s luncheon where one of the mousetrap’s winning design was displayed by one of the competitors and that he was amazed to learn about the level of competition involved.
“Students, your intelligence, your ingenuity, your determination, and your ability to work cooperatively as a group to achieve one common goal are valuable skills that you will carry on into adulthood,” he added.
SECME OPENING – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville is pictured with several students from various schools on Grand Bahama competing in the Mousetrap Car event of the Grand Bahama SECME Competition. (BIS Photo/Simon Lewis)
MEDICAL TALK – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville welcomes Dr. Kevin T. Bowe, Medical Officer/VP Medical Services at the National Insurance Board (Nassau) to Grand Bahama. Dr. Bowe and Minister Darville held talks on matters involving NIB and healthcare assistance on Grand Bahama. Officials from the Ministry of Labour, Department of Environmental Health Services, and top management for NIB’s Freeport office participated in the meeting. (BIS Photo/Simon Lewis)