During a $1.6M contract signing for renovations at BTVI on Monday, September 11, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin said the work being done at the facility represents “renewal of hope” for the people of Grand Bahama.
She commended the Board of Directors who tirelessly worked to bring the loan to fruition.
“To build capacity (of people) to create opportunities for young people to be able to go out in their own businesses or to be a competitor in their skillset is an empowerment level that is very rarely seen, even in the academic world.”
As a result, the Minister said, this will assist in building confidence, self-worth, increase self-perception and increase capacity in the marketplace while providing rewarding opportunities.
While previously having a one-dimensional view of education, increasing technical skill sets will assist in meeting the global demand in high paying jobs. “But we have marginalized the enterprise of the areas. I am very excited that we are broadening and democratizing how we view human development.”
She continued, “I am excited because we have been mandated to develop and promote this aspect of how young people pursue their realities of who they are, what they are and do it with confidence and support.”
Addressing the number of work permits being granted in this area, Minister Hanna-Martin said for about 10 years, the complaint has been that Bahamians don’t have the skills. This focus will bring a renewed reality to the people of Grand Bahama and the northern region.
“We are going to see a different Bahamas because we are saying that we as a people are diverse, gifted, talented and there is a space for each of us.”
The $1.6 million contract was awarded to Patrick McDonald Construction Company Ltd., and areas to be renovated and or upgraded include the entire administrative block, labs — including welding, carpentry and auto — will all be renovated. Also included will be the addition of an auditorium by making use of the area that was used by the University of The Bahamas as a dining area. Next to this will be a new media department.
Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey expressed how pleased she was for the contract signing, especially after witnessing the devastation at the facility by Hurricane Dorian. The challenges faced in the aftermath, leading to classrooms being temporarily converted into offices and some classes being taken online, she added, showed the resilience of not only the staff but students as well.
“I commend your efforts thus far and I want to challenge you to become the regional leaders for technology training. The vision for Grand Bahama Island is to become the home of innovation. My ministry is diligently working to accomplish this goal.
“Currently I am the Cabinet Chair for ‘Innovate242,’ an initiative aimed at propelling The Bahamas into becoming the leading center of innovation for the Caribbean region. We want you to be our partners in propelling our students and island forward in the space of technology. This is crucial as we plan to be on the cutting edge of the ever-evolving demands of the job market and changing tides around the world.”
In closing, the Minister added, “Finally, as you continue down the road of transformation, growth, and excellence in technical and vocational education, know that we are in this together and any support you may need, The Ministry of Grand Bahama, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, is at your disposal.”
By ROBYN ADDERLEY/Bahamas Information Services
More photo highlights below: