Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, joined administrators, residents, parents and students of schools in the North Eleuthera District in celebrating World (Universal) Children’s Day. While World Children’s Day was commemorated globally on Wednesday, November 20, the North Eleuthera celebrations were held the following day to allow Minister Campbell and Member of Parliament for North Eleuthera, Mr. Howard “Ricky” Mackey, the opportunity to fulfill their Parliamentary obligations and attend the sitting of the House of Assembly. Special School Assemblies were held at the Samuel Guy-Pinder All-Age School, Spanish Wells, and the North Eleuthera High School, in Lower Bogue, where a combined assembly was held for students of the North Eleuthera High School, the Harbour Island All-Age School and the Laura L. Anderson Primary School. Minister Campbell also made a stop at The Children’s Place Pre-School and Play Group in Spanish Wells.
The Social Services Minister was in North Eleuthera as the guest of Mr. Mackey who headed an organizing committee of officials from the North Eleuthera School District and employees of the Department of Social Services, North Eleuthera District Office. Minister Campbell informed the students about the genesis of World Children’s Day, the objective of the Day, and the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (also referred to as the CRC or the UNCRC). “About 30 years ago, The Bahamas joined the rest of the world in signing onto the Convention on the Rights of the Child which signaled global agreement that our children were sufficiently important that a day should be set aside to recognize them; that a day should be set aside to sensitize them about their rights as children; and that efforts should be made throughout the year focused on ensuring that children receive the necessary attention they deserve.”
Minister Campbell said another aspect of the Convention is to ensure that the rights of children are protected. The Convention is a human rights treaty that sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children worldwide. “This includes a child’s right to an education, a child’s right to healthcare, the right to family life, the right to play and recreation, the right to an adequate standard of living, a child’s right not to be exploited, and the right to be protected from abuse and harm,” Minister Campbell told the students. The Convention also speaks to a child’s right to develop his/her potential in all situations and at all times. It also speaks to the right to be able to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate.
The Convention obliges States Parties and Signatories to allow parents to exercise their parental responsibilities. Minister Campbell told the students that with every right they are entitled, comes responsibility. “And so you have the responsibility to not only safeguard your rights, but also to ensure that you do not trample on the rights of the other persons around you. For example, you may have the right to listen to a particular kind of music, but not at the level where it may be offensive to others around you,” Minister Campbell added. The Social Services Minister said he was “excited” for the opportunity to share with the students in North Eleuthera “face-to-face.”
“While I would have had an opportunity to speak in Parliament and speak to the nation on the subject, I was most pleased on receiving the invitation from the Member of Parliament for North Eleuthera, to seize the opportunity to go and share in person with the very persons whom we are celebrating, our young persons, our children. “I was happy at the response when I spoke to them about their rights and responsibilities; I was happy at the response when I shared with them that locally, nationally and internationally there is this genuine concern for their safety, their security, for their well-being, for their efforts in preparing themselves to become the future leaders of our country. The analogy of passing and receiving the baton was well received,” Minister Campbell added. Mr. Mackey said the observance provided parents, teachers, administrators and other officials with yet another opportunity to celebrate the District’s children.
“The importance of children, and the importance we place on ensuring that the needs of our children are met, cannot be overstated. They are our future; they are the ones who are going to be expected to pick up the baton and manage our country in the future,” Mr. Mackey said. “We are delighted that this opportunity exists globally because for too many years children have been exploited. We realize, along with the rest of the world, that there is a need to show our children that they are celebrated, that they are appreciated, that they are loved and supported, while at the same time, allowing for, and creating, opportunities for them to excel; to have access to the best possible educational opportunities; the right to good health; the right to be free from abuse, in addition the other Rights contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. “It is with sincere gratitude that, wherever and whenever we are given an opportunity to join with the remainder of The Bahamas and indeed the world in showing our love for our children, we here in North Eleuthera will be more than delighted to do so,” Mr. Mackey added.