January 30, 2018
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He grew up as a Valley Boy in Culmersville, lost his father as a young boy and began working at an early age to help his mother. His life could have been a story of mediocrity blamed on his circumstances. Instead, he would be the boy who worked to pay for his education, studied hard in school, set goals for himself and achieved them - and then some.
When Edwin A Smith was a little boy growing up in Bain Town in the 1950s, there were great Bahamian athletes making it to the big leagues in baseball or track and field. So, little boys had much to aspire to if they wished to become a professional athlete. But Ed, who spent his afternoons shooting marbles, flying kites, playing stick ball, wrestling, or swimming on Long Wharf beach during the summers, had no idea at the time he would one day make Bahamian history as the first to go pro in an entirely different sport.
My high school friend Valentino Williams has always been the kind of person to do things on a big scale. I always saw great ambition in my schoolmate. He would come up with great ideas and get people to join in. He could be a fierce competitor in schoolwork as well as in basketball, track and field.
When Lucy Lightbourne was in her prime at 30 years old, she had a lot going for her. She had just bought a new car and was serving as the manager of Anne’s Paradise, a popular restaurant and lounge on Thompson Boulevard owned by Elridge Smith.
This summer as Anita Rolle was deciding what she wanted to do for her birthday, it hit her. Why celebrate my birthday alone when there are so many other cancer survivors like me with a new lease on life? Just a few months later, “Anita’s Celebration for a Cause” was born. Anita realised there were countless others in The Bahamas who needed support and encouragement as they are either battling or beat cancer and they all needed each other.
It was difficult for me to accept I had to write this edition of Face to Face posthumously. I had every intention of interviewing Audrey Dean-Wright in person. I had already told her as much. I was excited and, when I started writing this column, I let her know that it would be my honour to tell her life story – one so fulfilled I hadn’t even figured out how I would compact it into a single page. But I knew it was necessary, because so many great Bahamians who have contributed so much don’t have their stories told… they are not celebrated enough.
The Bahamas is a small country filled with incredible people and it never ceases to amaze me when I have the good fortune to meet one of them. In this case, it was a Bahamian woman who is a trailblazer in medicine and continues to work hard to improve the lives of Bahamians suffering from hearing issues.
Amein Burrows has completely turned his life around and believes if he has done it, so can the countless young men in this country who find themselves in a revolving door situation with the cops and the courts. He found the life he was chasing after – quick, fast money, nice cars and girls – came with a price too heavy to bear.
As a child, she would play school with her dolls and teach them things she had learnt. Her navel string is planted in Fox Hill and there, she grew up practicing on family and friends at home, putting them in school for fun, too. Now that she is grown and has her own school located in the heart of Fox Hill, she is taking on a new responsibility; one that requires her to champion the rights of men, women, boys and girls throughout the country.
She grew up at the junction of honesty and integrity road – literally. Her childhood home served as a refuge for many. Her mother taught her how to give unselfishly and to consider the needs of others. She did well in school and carved out a successful career in accounting and finance. Yet today, she has become the focus of a controversy that is playing out nationally without most not really knowing who she is or what she is all about.
Deaconess Esther Elizabeth Neely-Brown left such an indelible mark on the lives she touched that her legacy lives on even though she died in November 2016.
For many years, she was a lead singer in the popular local band “Visage”. She has that signature voice you know the moment you hear it – it’s soul stirring, deep and meaningful. A few years ago, she became a solo artist and continues to make her mark, not only as one of The Bahamas’ beloved entertainers, but as an educator who guides hundreds of Bahamian students in the field of music.
THE Rev Dr James S Sweeting is one of those men who has lived several lives and is still around and ready to do more. Many people touch just one or two professions in their lifetime. Often, it is advised to stick with one career. But Rev Sweeting proves it is possible to be successful in several careers and as a business owner – all in the same lifetime. The key to it, he says, is to give each goal you set everything you’ve got and to know when its time to move on to another level.
A few weeks ago, one of the most renowned Pan-Africanists in the world graced our shores. He is so well known, not only for his booming voice and strong delivery, but also for the hard-hitting messages he brings which aim to empower people with the knowledge he feels would liberate them from mental slavery.
When I sit down face to face with people from all walks of life to interview for this column, the greatest impact usually happens during the interview; some “aha” moment when I understand someone’s purpose or vision, or when I am inspired by their story.
I was scrolling through Instagram one day when I came upon the work of this Bahamian designer. I was in awe. I followed her immediately. Since then, I have had many a jaw dropping and breathtaking experience seeing another one of her creations pop up on my timeline. Even her business name is a cut above – Remilda Rose is a name attached to some of the most beautiful garments to touch red carpets and turn heads in The Bahamas.
I was recently in Eleuthera connecting with my Ingraham side of the family and learning about our heritage in Palmetto Point when I met a talented woman with a friendly disposition and was immediately drawn to her. She became the next focus of Face to Face because after getting to know her a bit better, I found that she had a wealth of knowledge, experience, love of country and a life story worth sharing.
I first met Beat Schlagenhauf when I was covering an event for the Rhythm and Youth Band. This Rake n’ Scrape group comprised young boys and girls and was birthed at the Gerald Cash Primary School under the direction of then music teacher, Nathaniel Adams.
WHEN I was 14 years old, I had the opportunity to participate in the filming of a Hollywood movie right here in Nassau. Gerard Depardieu was the main actor – a French father who took his daughter, played by Katherine Heigl, on vacation to The Bahamas
WHEN looking for solutions to the problems that face this country, we often look to our religious, political and social leaders for the answers. We look for grown-up solutions to problems that are affecting children as well. But what if some of the answers we need could be found in the children?
Why do we hurt the ones we say we love? I believe somewhere in our hearts and minds when we hurt others, it’s because we were not loving ourselves. The love we say we have for others must be felt within the very core of our being. Once safe and secure in our own personal love, then we can have healthy, loving relationships that edify us rather than destroy us.
Metellus Chipman is no stranger to the world of culture and entertainment in The Bahamas.
This past weekend, a noted member of the press and the legal fraternity was laid to rest. She was an attorney with passion as a legal advocate for women and children, a journalist and a communications specialist. More importantly to me, she was like a big sister throughout my childhood years.
Donavon Powell was on a clear path to success in America, making strides in the financial arena after successfully completing college. He had everything going for him and no reason at this point in his career to stop climbing the corporate ladder in the land of opportunity. But instead he chose to follow a calling and try and make a difference in the land of his birth. He came up with an idea that had the potential to make a positive impact in The Bahamas and give him a chance to return home and earn a living.
You could have been abandoned as a young child, left to fend for yourself in one of the toughest ghettos in America with crime statistics stacked against you, and you could still rise above them to become an international professional basketball player, making money playing a game you love. That’s the testimony of Mahershal Simonet, a passionate and driven man who is making a difference on and off the basketball court. He is a skilful point guard and shooting guard who has played in some 15 countries around the world; now he is in The Bahamas discovering his roots and sowing positive seeds into the lives of children here.
Take a slow drive through any Over-the-Hill community and you will find a water pump. It’s a necessity in an area where there are still homes without infrastructure for running water.
“Dynamite Daisy” is a household name in The Bahamas. She is a comedienne well known as the life of the party at weddings, birthdays, church events and functions all over the country. She appears on radio and television shows and commercials, and was the star of many of her own full-stage productions with a group of fellow actors who performed to packed crowds. She has even travelled throughout the United States and the Caribbean with her dynamite act.
I am used to seeing Sharon all dressed up to the nines – hair done, clothing on point and always wearing a big smile. When her cousin contacted me to say Sharon had developed breast cancer and her attitude is so commendable she thought I should visit her for an interview, I obliged. However, I was not prepared for the Sharon I met. Her big, beautiful coif is reduced to the scalp, and although she was never big in size, she is definitely smaller. The only thing that seemed the same to me were her beautiful eyes, her voice and the big, bright smile that usually greets me.
He’s been on this planet for 99 years, has all his faculties and is quite funny, witty and charming. He can hold a conversation with anyone and is so well-read he probably knows quite a bit about the subjects that intrigue most people. It’s amazing - the level of energy that exudes Garth C. Reeves Sr. It seems Father Time and the fountain of youth both blessed him, and he relishes in every moment that he’s alive.
Some people come to The Bahamas and get sand in their shoes and they never seem to shake it out; returning to these islands again and again to be kissed by the Bahamian sun. That’s exactly what happened to Lady Caroline Simmonds.
They say love is blind. When in love, sometimes nothing can stop two people who desire to spend the rest of their lives together. Antoine and Abbie Munroe, who are both blind, have brought truth to this old adage in a positive way. Their testament of love is one so strong that despite the discouragement from many of their family members and friends, they married and now have a beautiful baby girl.
Addis Huyler is a successful, dynamic and confident Bahamian man on a mission to ensure his fellow Bahamians are recognised and honoured for the work they do to help make this country a better one. He is the mastermind behind the Bahamian Icon awards, now in its sixth year, celebrating the dedication and success of Bahamians in areas such as sports, entrepreneurship, commerce, media, entertainment, health, tourism and fine art. He is also the CEO of the SIDDA Communications group, a successful marketing and public relations consultancy. With all this going for him, you would have no idea Addis was once a gawky, tall, lumbering kid who dealt with bullying throughout his school years.
When I was asked to pay a visit to the man they call “the mayor of Fox Hill” as he prepares to be consecrated to the Bishopric, I wasn’t ready for the surprise. No flashy car and lofty mansion here.
She is a Gospel recording artist who shares her gift at churches and events throughout The Bahamas and the world. She was a school administrator for 32 years, helping to nurture the lives of Bahamian children. Yet Lenora Taylor was treated with such disrespect by police, even in her senior years, that she felt obliged to share her story and call on the leaders of the Royal Bahamas Police Force to ensure the officers who deal with the public act with more professionalism.
When a doctor tells you to say your final goodbyes to loved ones, sometimes there’s no coming back. It can be a harrowing moment. The anaesthesiologist asks you to count backwards from ten to one, and the doctor has already told you that you may not survive. But when you have faith, be it as small as a mustard seed, you can overcome anything – and Dr Michelle C Major did just that.
I spent hours on the top of Blue Hills in New Providence at the home of a sprightly and dainty Bahamian grandmother.