#Nassau, September 28, 2018 – Bahamas – During her communication in the House of Assembly commemorating the launch of the 2018 National Youth Month Celebrations, on September 27, 2018, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle quoted the late United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said, ‘We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.’
“It gives me great pleasure, in my capacity as Minister with responsibility for the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture to announce the approach of a period strategically set aside by this nation to reflect upon, recognize, inspire and encourage our youth,” Minister Rolle said. “National Youth Month 2018 will be celebrated for the entire month of October.
“Since my Ministry’s inception, we have been engaged in the annual execution of activities that was cause for a very sober acknowledgement of the contributions, dreams, aspirations and values of the positive young persons in our country.”
Minister Rolle announced that the theme for the current year’s celebration is ‘Youth: Forefront of Change.’ That theme, she noted, having been inspired by a speech delivered by former Secretary-General of The United Nations, the late Mr. Kofi Annan.
“The fundamental message was that young people are leading in political, economic, social, cultural and religious spheres the world over,” she said.
“Here in The Bahamas, youth at the forefront of change is more than talk – this Government has put this belief into action,” Minister Rolle added. “For the first time in history, we have the youngest members of Parliament ever elected by the people, and fact is, we have a Free National Movement to thank for that. In fact, we have a visionary leader in person of the Member of Killarney, our Honourable Prime Minister, who is a man of few words, but gets the job done.”
However, she pointed out, “the young people are not into our talk, they are watching our actions”. Minister Rolle noted that The Bahamas had demonstrated its “willingness to repose confidence in its youth by the election of Travis Robinson, who was 21 years of age when he was elected by one of the oldest constituencies in the country.
“I believe, Member of Parliament Robinson is the youngest elected Member of Parliament in the history of the Caribbean,” she said. “We also have Mr. James Albury, elected Member of Parliament for South Abaco, who was age 23 when he was elected.”
“This speaks volumes for our country and our desire and willingness as a government and a people to allow young people to lead the change that will propel our nation’s social growth, capital expansion and economic development,” she added. “The nation can look to this government to push the envelope, try something new, do something different and make it happen for all of our people.”
Minister Roller introduced a number of initiatives have been planned in honor of National Youth Month.
“Firstly, I wish to acknowledge my Ministry’s decision to pay tribute to Mrs. I. Elma Garraway, retired educator, public officer, active youth development worker, former commissioner and benefactor of The Bahamas Girl Guides Association,” Minister Rolle said. “Mrs. Garraway has been at the centre of strategic youth engagement in our nation for decades, and despite her retirement, continues to serve in the Girl Guides Association and the Templeton Foundation’s outreach programmes.
“Mrs. Garraway will receive the National Lifetime Achievement Award and will serve as patron of a number of events during which youth leaders from across the country will also be recognized for their contributions towards the effective engagement of our nation’s youth.”
In that context, Minister Rolle stated, her Ministry would host a series of events and encouraged the participation of Honourable Members and young people, and she brought focus to few of them.
Minister Rolle said the event titled “Turn Up for Jesus” will begin the month with a spiritual emphasis event, and was scheduled for Friday, October 5, 2018 at the Balliou Hill Road Youth Centre, at 7:30 p.m.
“Bahamian Christian party master ‘DJ GODSON’ will lead the Praise Party featuring other church groups, choirs and gospel artists in an event which promises to engage the entire surrounding community,” she said. “Churches are especially encouraged to bring their young people to the event which will be free of charge.”
The National Youth Month Rally and March will be held on Sunday, October 7, 2018, starting commencing at 2:30 p.m. with a brief rally and leaving from Clifford Park at 3:00 p.m,, Minister Rolle said.
“I extend a special invitation to Honourable Members to join me and Mrs. Garraway who will serve as Grand Marshall, in a unified display of all that is positive and productive about our young people,” she added. “It is my hope that this massive demonstration will serve to inspire other young persons not actively involved in any youth activity, programme, or sport to become positively engaged.”
Minister Rolle then pointed out that the National Youth Awards was at that time in its 32nd year, and already for that current year, the Ministry had received 158 nominations, even though it was almost two weeks away from the deadline for the submission of nominations.
“Nominees will all be presented to the Governor-General on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, during the annual Nominee Medal Presentation Ceremony, to be held in the Ballroom of Government House,” Minister Rolle said. “The winners of the coveted top 15 awards will be announced at the National Youth Recognition Ceremony to be held two weeks later, on October 24, 2018, at Melia Cable Beach Resort. The events are open to the public and free of charge.”
She added: “My Ministry is also pleased to announce that posthumously, the nation will also recognize the late Rev’d. Beryl Francis-Culmer, longstanding leader of the Bethel Baptist Church Girl’s Brigade – the first Company to be established outside of the Anglican and Methodist Churches. I am delighted also to advise that cash prizes will be awarded to all recipients and the winners of the top three awards, namely the Prime Minister’s Cup for youth excellence, the Minister’s Cup for outstanding achievement and the Director’s Cup for personal triumph will also be presented.”
“Young persons from across the nation will assemble at the House of Assembly on Friday, October 26, 2018 to exchange views on national issues,” she added. “We look forward to the debate which will be carried live on the Parliamentary Channel. Members of the public are welcome also to observe this debate in the gallery of the House.
“There are several other National Youth Month events scheduled to foster the fun and positive engagement of our nation’s youth. I encourage members of the public to visit the Division of Youth’s website at www.celebrateyouthbahamas.org for additional information on these events, including instructions for registration and participation.”
Minister Rolle pointed out that, as the political directorate, her job is to ensure that which ought to be done by her Ministry on behalf of the government and the Bahamian people is done without fear or favour.
“But I must hasten to as the Good Book says, one can chase a thousand but two, ten thousand,” she said. “On that note, and as I descend this communication, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the hard working team at my Ministry who assist with ensuring the Ministry’s success — and that is my Permanent Secretary, Ms. Rhoda Jackson, the Director of Youth, Mr. Darron Turnquest, the entire team in the Division of Youth and our sister Divisions, Sports and Culture which all work together to ensure the effective facilitation of programs and projects for the benefit of Youth, Sports and Culture.”
Minister Rolle noted that there were a number of religious and civic organizations that partner with her Ministry, in addition to and in particular the Ministry of Education who “strengthens our efforts as we seek to create safe spaces, productive environments and rewarding experiences to build our youth for the future”.
“Every member should now have a calendar of events for National Youth Month,” she said. “I am indeed grateful to God for this opportunity to serve in this dynamic role which facilitates access and opportunities for our youth, our athletes and our cultural talents and expressions.
“On this note, I appeal to the support of the entire nation as we celebrate our youth, forefront of change.”
By Eric Rose
Photo Caption: Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle is pictured, centre, with representative members of her youth division team, after her communication in the House of Assembly commemorating the launch of the 2018 National Youth Month Celebrations, on September 27, 2018.
(BIS Photo / Eric Rose)