Donations continue to pour in to fund the transformation and rejuvenation of the historic Over-the-Hill Community, aimed at enhancing the lives of residents through cultural upliftment and economic empowerment.
During a press conference Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at the Office of the Prime Minister — the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister, acknowledged the receipt of $500,000 in separate presentations for the Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative.
Businessman Mark Holowesko gave $100,000 to the Small Business Development Centre for small business grants for residents in the area; the cheque was presented to Jeffrey Andrews, chairman of the Small Business Development Centre. Mr. Holowesko also donated an additional $100,000 to the Over-the -Hill Community Foundation for broader upgrades in the area; the cheque was presented to Robert Turnquest, chairman of the Over-the-Hill Community Foundation.
And, Albany Bahamas made good on a second tranche of its donation in the amount of an additional $300,000 towards the redevelopment of the Southern Recreation Grounds. This brings Albany’s contribution to $600,000 – facilitated through Dr. Tyrone McKenzie, former Senior Vice-President.
The Prime Minister thanked the donors for their “generous donations” which he referred to as “gifts”, aimed at improving the quality of life for residents in Over-the-Hill. He pointed out that residents owning small businesses such as barber shops, hair salons, tyre repair shops, are to receive $2,500-$3,500 to improve their services. The Foundation will ensure the funds donated will see upgrades to the environment to provide a better quality of life for residents.
“Albany has been a great partner,” the Prime Minister said, adding both Holowesko and McKenzie grew up in humble beginnings.
The Southern Recreation Grounds, located on Baillou Hill Road just below Government House, was the meeting place for many historic events, namely the Burma Road Riot, the General Strike of 1958 and rallies leading up to Majority Rule Day. In modern times the ground is the venue for a number of sporting activities.
The Over-the-Hill area has also been declared by the government, a “tax free zone” and according to the Prime Minister, other such areas will be declared as well, to improve the quality of life for Bahamians.
The Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative has six key pillars: Social Empowerment, Economic Empowerment, Rejuvenation, Smart Technology, Green Technology and Youth and Elderly Empowerment.
Also present during Wednesday’s press conference were: Nicole Miller-Campbell, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister; Viana Gardiner, head of the Deliverables Unit, Office of the Prime Minister; Davinia Blair, Executive Director, Small Business Development Centre; Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, former Executive Manager, Over-the-Hill Unit; Samita Ferguson, Executive Manager, Over-the-Hill Unit; and Dr. Rodney Smith, President, University of The Bahamas.