Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, the Hon. Michael Pintard said if Grand Bahama is going to change, it will not be because there is someone crying in the wilderness about what is wrong, but rather about someone finding solutions. “And the young people who are graduates of this Fresh Start Program are part of the solution,” he affirmed. The Minister of Youth was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony for Grand Bahama’s Fresh Start Program on Saturday at the Social Affairs Convention Centre. Seventy-six persons graduated from the program and represented varied fields — including bartending, Butlering, office procedures, sales, welding and general maintenance.
The graduates emerged from over 500 initial applicants, and of the 89 who were accepted. Each graduate received skill certification, Bahama Host Program certification, and a customer service certificate. In congratulating the graduates, Minister Pintard noted they exemplified discipline, character, and determination. “We are proud of you and we know that this is yet another aspect of your life, and in the future, you will be doing incredible things,” he said. “Also, let me say to all of your support team – parents, guardians, friends, husbands, wives, teachers, and coaches, mentors, and lecturers – to all of you who have deposited into our young people’s lives, I want to say that on behalf of a grateful country and this government, thank you very much. The sacrifice you have made is appreciated.”
The Minister noted there were people present at the graduation who had gone through some tough times in their lives and ended up in some very dark places, where the thought of giving up was prevalent. However, he encouraged those persons to make the commitment to rise up. “That’s the simple message tonight that no matter what position these graduates found themselves in, they made a commitment to invest in their future, to rise above the tough conditions in this economy; to rise above any choices they have made that may have derailed or distracted them for a moment.” He encouraged the graduates to treat every new day with a kind of sacredness and use the time to do something wonderful for themselves, their families and by extension, their communities.