#TheBahamas, June 5, 2021 – As students sit the 2021 national examinations, Evelyn Sawyer, Assistant Director, Education, Examination and Assessment Division, reflects on the 2020 examinations and recognizes the successful achievements of public and private school students, their teachers and parents.
“When we consider the resilience of the children, those who actually turned up to write the exam, they can only be better for it. They put whatever behind and moved on. That group of students is going to make it,” said Mrs. Sawyer.
“The parents who insisted that their children write the exams, it’s a testimony to them too. There were some teachers who went over and beyond; they enforced the coursework — some really had a vested interest in the children.”
In 2020, to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the Ministry of Education (MOE) temporarily suspended national examinations leaving a period of uncertainty over whether national examinations would resume. With marking centres shutting down because of exposure to COVID-19, fears associated with the infectious disease, anxiety and discouragement, Mrs. Sawyer described this period as “very challenging.” She opined that the decision to administer the exam was the best decision that could have been made.
“This was hard fought. There was back and forth. We had to try to proceed with the administration of the exams. If we failed in our trying at least we were satisfied that we tried. The mere fact that we were able to administer the exam and get through despite COVID-19 itself was a major accomplishment.
“We believed the children deserved to have an opportunity. At the end of the day we wanted to know that we did what we could for the children.”
Mrs. Sawyer recounted that the students experienced their own stress. “Imagine that you spend 12 years in school and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Depending on where they were, the children bought into what was fed to them. For example, the student from Queen’s College [Kamori Sawyer] who got 13 As, she had to have somebody behind her, pushing and saying you could do this.
“Some parents were afraid of [exposure] to the pandemic. Some said their child was in the University of The Bahamas (UB). UB allowed students time off to write the exam but some of them said because their child had already been accepted in UB they did not need to bother. I encouraged parents to write the exam. The child may not have needed it then but may need it later,” she said.
Mrs. Saywer informed that in comparison to 2019, the turnout for the percentage of persons who took the BJC exam, was 85 per cent better in 2020. With regard to the BGCSE, she said only half of the children who were registered showed up for the exams.
“It’s unfortunate that a lot of them chose not to write it but we applaud those who did and some did extremely well like the child who got 15 BGCSE subjects with grades from A to C.
“For 2020, this year and maybe another year or so we have a group of individuals who through no fault of their own, were shortchanged.
“I think a lot of children have regrets or their parents have regrets that their children did not do the exams last year. The BGCSE is a level playing field. I don’t mind what degree you get, when you go for a job, they ask for BGCSE results. I think a lot of children did not realize that they will still ask for them,” she said.
Mrs. Saywer noted that NGM Major in Long Island, is among the schools that have consistently done well in national exams and 2020 was no different.
“It has a small school environment and population and is on an island where education is still very important. A lot of persons from Long Island have done extremely well in education and otherwise over the years,” she said.
Mrs. Sawyer said with Abaco on the rebound after Hurricane Dorian, only students representing Patrick J. Bethel High School, SC Boodle High School and Moore’s Island All Age School sat national exams in 2020.
“A lot of them [students] were displaced. A lot of them who were registered, for example students from St. Francis De Sales Catholic School, were transferred to Aquinas College [in Nassau]. They registered under Aquinas College but went back to Abaco to take their exams.
“We had to make arrangements to accommodate them. Dominique Russell, the District Superintendent there, did a phenomenal job to make sure the students were accommodated.
“Students from other schools who were stuck in other Family Islands had to be accommodated. They returned to whatever island they were from or have relatives in. We had to ensure that all of the special circumstances were accommodated,” added Mrs. Sawyer.
For 2021, only Smith’s Memorial Academy, Long Bay School and Agape Christian School have come back on stream with national exams.
“It’s very encouraging that they have returned.”
Mrs. Sawyer underscored that the success of the 2020 National Examinations could not have been achieved without the extraordinary strength of character of the students who opted to take the examinations.
She assured that the MOE celebrates the achievements ofthe students who did their best under extremely daunting circumstances.
“We celebrate your spirit and the spirit of the people who were behind you, school administrators, teachers, parents, other relatives and community leaders; yes, behind you and beside you and in front of you, encouraging you,” said Mrs. Sawyer. (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)
BGCSE Best by Island
Criteria: The student receiving the best results on the island: At least 4 subjects at ‘D’ and above.
Jonae Rahming, South Andros High – 2Bs, 4Cs, 1D
Maya Saunders, Louise McDonald High – 1B 3Cs, 1D
Cherolle Pierre, R.N. Gomez All Age – 1A, 2Bs, 2Cs
Zoe O. J. Turner, Arthur’s Town High – 3As, 1B, 1C
Keyshawn Cox, Acklins High – 1B, 1C, 2Ds
Perrell Cooper, Windermere High – 6As, 1B, 1C
Carys Thompson, L.N. Coakley High – 1A, 5Bs, 4Cs
Rashad Tobias Rolle, Bishop Michael Eldon – 7As, 1B
Silas Turnquest, NGM Major High – 3As, 3Bs, 2Cs
Shania Knowles, San Salvador High – 1A, 2Cs, 2Ds
Kamori Cori Sawyer, Queen’s College – 13As
BJCs Best by Island
Criteria: The student receiving the best results on the island: At least 4 subjects at ‘D’ and above
Remelda Jean, Patrick Bethel High – 3As, 4Bs
Sarah McKinney, South Andros High School – 5As, 2Bs, 2Cs
John Johnson, Gateway Christian Academy – 3Bs, 1C
THE BERRY ISLANDS
Javan Mott, R.N. Gomez All Age School – 1B, 4Cs, 1D
Nehaj Campbell, Old Bright High School – 1A, 3Bs, 4Cs
Jason Thompson, Admiral Ferguson High – 1B, 2Cs, 3Ds
Aalijah Bullard, Acklins High School – 3Bs, 3Cs, 1D
Alexandria Culmer, Central Eleuthera High School – 8As, 2Bs
Wayne Curtis, L.N. Coakley High School – 3As, 3Bs
Hazell Taylor, Tabernacle Baptist Academy – 6As
Hope Knowles, NGM Major High School – 5As, 5Bs
Anaya Young, San Salvador High School – 2As, 4Bs, 1C
Tajanique S. Cooper, Inagua All Age School – 2Bs, 2Cs, 1D
Aneko Smith, Abraham’s Bay All Age School – 2Bs, 2Cs, 1E
Cherkadin Wells, Queen’s College -12As
By Kathryn Campbell
Minister Moxey says partnerships for development will help get Grand Bahama going again
#TheBahamas, November 27, 2021 – One means by which Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey plans to utilize every resource at her disposal to get things moving for Grand Bahama again, is to utilize partnerships for development.
“Success with these partnerships on our island are embedded in collaborative efforts between the ministry of Grand Bahama, other government ministries, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Hutchinson Whampoa Holdings Ltd., industry stakeholders and the business community at large,” explained Minister Moxey.
“We must unite and work together to build alliances for success with the ultimate goal of ensuring that Grand Bahama Island excels. We are all in this together.”
The Minister’s remarks came during her keynote address at the ninth annual Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 at Pelican Bay resort. The event is held to honor Grand Bahamian business owners for their commitment, achievements and dedication to the development of the second city.
Minister Moxey pointed out that this year’s event, under the theme, celebration of excellence, acknowledges and highlights businesses on Grand Bahama that have stayed the course. She added that this kind of recognition is a beacon of hope for local business owners who have faced and overcame some of the most challenging circumstances ever encountered within the island’s history.
“On November first during my contribution on the bill to thank the Governor General for his Speech from the Throne, I pledged to the nation that I would do the people’s business and utilize every resource at my disposal, to get the job done for Grand Bahama,” said Minister Moxey.
“As a Grand Bahamian and business owner, I can attest to the challenges we have faced over the past decade. The devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which was closely followed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. It further strained our already fragile economy. Today’s administration is also well aware of the challenges that Grand Bahama has faced over the past decade. Nevertheless, we will deliver on our commitment to recover, rebuild and revolutionize our island, our economy and usher our people into the new day.
“I would like to thank all of the businesses represented today, that have kept their doors opened and our people employed. To all of the Business Excellence Award nominees, I congratulate you. Remain encouraged and know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“To the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, thank you for being a staple in the business community and for celebrating excellence for the past nine years. Welcome back business excellence awards.”
By Andrew Coakley
Photo Caption: Minister for Grand Bahama, Ginger Moxey (right), along with President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Greg Laroda presents Mrs. Leslie Baptista, of Paint Fair, with the President’s Award, during the ninth annual GB Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 at Pelican Bay resort.
(BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)
Invest Turks and Caicos Attended Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit
#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Invest Turks and Caicos (Invest TCI) is pleased to announce the Agency’s participation in the 10TH Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) held November 10th-12th, 2021, at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.
CHICOS is one of the premier hospitality conferences in the region. In its 10th year, this event brought together more than 300 regional and international investors and operators and the region’s leading decision makers – all to discuss the region’s markets and possibilities.
Invest TCI participated in the Caribbean Government Leaders plenary session on Friday, November 12th, alongside the Bahamas Investment Authority, Invest St. Lucia, and JAMPRO. The plenary discussions focused on the investment environment of Caribbean economies in a post covid environment under two key themes: diversification of the economy and tourism and the need for greater involvement of (and positive impact on) local communities.
Attending the summit on behalf of Invest TCI was Interim CEO, Angela Musgrove and Legal and Compliance Officer, Judith Garland.
Commenting on the summit, Ms. Garland stated, “I was delighted to represent the Agency at the 10th Anniversary edition of CHICOS. I found the sessions engaging, and the industry trends and knowledge imparted was most valuable. It was great to meet new faces and establish relationships with industry colleagues, which can present mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships in the future.
Interim CEO Angela Musgrove stated, “Invest TCI will continue to support and leverage industry conferences to promote opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is the Agency’s 5th year attending CHICOS, and it has allowed us to directly engage with potential investors and prospects interested in doing business in the TCI. Through these types of events, the Agency can continue to proactively target new investment opportunities, lucrative partnerships, and financial opportunities that contribute to overall economic development.”
For more information on upcoming events, visit our website at investturksandcaicos.tc.
Bahamian Para-Athlete Erin Brown to Become Godmother of RC’s Odyssey of The Seas
#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas. Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and a para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at an international level, will accept the honour at a special ceremony in Florida later this week.
“From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.”
While she was in college participating as a track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking, and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb above the knee. Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her child depended on her. She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. “Mind over matter,” she repeated. And then, she re-invented herself.
She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event, Ride for Hope, raising money for cancer research, education and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could on the hilly terrain.
“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown who has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for the physically challenged.
“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas,” said Bayley. “Our company’s very first port of call outside the U. S. was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honouring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian flagged ship in our fleet.”
Photo Caption: Erin Brown, who calls herself a limb-difference individual, will be named the first Bahamian Godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel when she presides over the naming of Odyssey of the Seas.
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