HUMBLE beginnings are no excuse for a lack of ambition or success in life – a fact the country’s history of accomplishments has proven – Minister of Social Services and Community Development Melanie Griffin said.
She was speaking to a packed room at Government House during the annual Nation Builder’s Award Ceremony.
“No doubt, many of our honourees came from humble beginnings, but they did not allow this to deter them in their quest to provide for themselves and their families and to improve their circumstances,” Mrs Griffin said.
“They would have utilised whatever skills or resources they had available to them, be it through farming, sewing or cooking, to seize the limited employment opportunities to make ends meet while trying to put something aside for the future.
“Their lives clearly show that humble circumstances are no excuse for a lack of ambition or success in life and this is a lesson we need to instil in our children,” she said.
Addressing the 16th annual ceremony, Mrs Griffin said the awards allow the country to express appreciation to the honourees for their contribution to the “building of the Bahamas”.
Launched on October 31, 1997, the awards were instituted to “pay homage to the hardworking everyday persons in our communities.”
Twelve persons were presented with Nation Builder Awards. They included: Elizabeth Butler, Telzena Coakley, Elvina Connell, Rejoiner Curtis, Sybil Curtis, Thelma Pinder, Louise Pople, Elizabeth Rolle, Urban Bostwick, Howard John Barr, Deglanville Erasmus Panza and Pastor Curtis Moss.
Hilda Johnson was honoured with a posthumous award.
One hundred and seventy-six persons have now received the award since its inception.
“While their names may never appear in history books, today’s honourees are people who continuously gave of themselves in service to their families, neighbourhoods and communities. They are people who made a difference,” Mrs Griffin said.
“The paths that they would have journeyed many years ago present excellent and meaningful examples to our younger generation and demonstrate the fundamentals of decent, Christian, living and good citizenship that we should all strive to emulate.
“Today, and on behalf of the government and people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, I congratulate and commend the honourees for their contribution to the building of our nation; their years of service and their duty to their respective families while adhering to the biblical admonition to help others.”
Minister Griffin urged those gathered to be mindful of the United Nations Principles for Older persons, which state that older persons, through the access of adequate resources, should be able to live independently, participate in the activities of their society, benefit from adequate care from family and community, pursue opportunities that prove self fulfilment and live in dignity, free from exploitation and harm.
“The reality is that everybody will not be blessed with long life. Let us therefore, in addition to being compassionate, treat our older persons with respect and dignity and be always appreciative of their roles in shaping our lives and our nation,” Mrs Griffin said.
The Awards ceremony brought to an end National Older Persons Month, celebrated each October in the Bahamas.
A full schedule of events/activities were organised to celebrate the month which is a collaboration between the National Council for Older Persons, the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development and the Department of Social Services.