Mount Fitzwilliam Establishes Pinwheel Garden, Bahamians Everywhere Encouraged to ‘Follow Suit’

Governor General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite Pindling, assisted by young D'naije Carter, plants the first pinwheel in the Pinwheel Garden at Government House in a special ceremony recognizing Child Protection Month. (BIS Photos/Letisha Henderson)

Governor-General, Her Excellency, the Most Hon. Dame Marguerite Pindling, DCMG, led Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, and members of the National Child Protection Council and the Child Protection Committee, in planting a Pinwheel Garden at Government House, Mount Fitzwilliam Monday. The occasion marked the second time Her Excellency has consented to have a Pinwheel Garden planted at Mount Fitzwilliam as part of the activities observing April as Child Protection Month in The Bahamas.

The first Pinwheel Garden was planted at Mount Fitzwilliam in April 2016, thanks to the generosity of Dame Marguerite. Pinwheel Gardens have also been planted in the past at various schools in New Providence, Grand Bahama , and the Family Islands. Noted Bahamian Child Psychologist and Deputy Chairperson of the National Child Protection Council, Dr. Novia T. Carter-Lookie, encouraged Bahamians everywhere – businesses, schools, church groupings and communities – to show their support for the nation’s children by making and planting their own Pinwheel Gardens, or by establishing their very own Pinwheel displays. The Pinwheel replaced the Blue Ribbon as the new national symbol for child abuse prevention/child protection in The Bahamas in April, 2016. Child Protection officials say by its very nature, the pinwheel connotes whimsy and childlike notions. “In essence, it has come to serve as the physical embodiment, or reminder, of the great childhoods we want for all children.”

Dr. Carter-Lookie’s sons D’naije and Alvarez Carter assisted in planting the first Pinwheel Garden at Mount Fitzwilliam in 2016 as ten and six-year-olds. D’naije returned Monday as a ten-year-old to once again assist Dame Marguerite in the occasion. Dr. Carter-Lookie said Bahamians have the responsibility to contribute to the kind of nation within which they want their children to live. “We all have an effect on the lives of children. The responsibility is ours to contribute to the kind of nation in which we want to live; within which we want our children to live. When all children do not have equal opportunities for healthy growth and development, we put our future as a society at risk. Each and every day should be our call to action and an opportunity for us to recognize that we all play a pivotal role in our children leading successful lives.”

Dr. Carter-Lookie said because children are the future: “Our most basic obligation is to support their healthy development.” “The great childhoods that we want for our children require loving and supportive environments as research shows that children who are raised in supportive and stable environments are more able to achieve and attain greater academic, emotional, social and financial success. “When we invest in healthy child development, we are investing in community and economic development,” Dr. Carter-Lookie said. “Unfortunately, children are sometimes exposed to extreme and sustained stress like child abuse and neglect which can undermine a child’s development.”

Research conducted by Prevent Child Abuse America, a U.S. entity, estimates that implementing effective policies and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect can save taxpayers $80 billion per year. That same research said the cost of not doing this is measured in increased costs for foster care services, hospitalization, mental health treatment and law enforcement, as well as loss of individual productivity and expenditures related to chronic health problems, special education and the justice system.

More images from the Pinwheel Garden below:

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