Min. of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, told the 2020 Graduating Class of the Red Cross Centre for the Deaf, their teachers and parents, that it is the responsibility of every state — the government — to ensure that all of its students receive a quality education. This, Min. Lloyd said, includes young people who: “are otherwise given abilities that are a challenge for them at times, and for those of us whom God have called to invite them to life so that they can be all that they have a right to be.” “I can tell you that there is nothing more important for us,as educators and in government, than to ensure that all of our children receive a quality education,” Minister Lloyd said. “Whatever resources must be expended, we must, to ensure that this country abides by its own commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, (particularly) SDG No. 4 which states: ‘Inclusive and equitable Education for all’ not just some.”
Delivering the keynote address at the 2020 Graduation Ceremony held on the School’s Campus (Friday, July 24), Minister Lloyd told the graduates that there is no doubt that they have the abilities needed to succeed in whatever profession they choose going forward. (Friday’s Graduation Ceremony, was also attended by Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, whose Ministry has oversight for Disability Affairs.) Minister Lloyd said the Government of The Bahamas is committed to ensuring access and inclusion in all spheres of life for all of its citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, including children and those from the community of persons with disabilities.
“I grew up in a time where if you had what we call a disability, you were shunted, shunned, pushed away as some parents now do, and forgotten,” Minister Lloyd said. “That is not God’s will for us. We are all called to maximize our potential and each of us is invited to ensure that happens for all of us. “Please understand this (graduates), and that is that you can do anything you put your minds to. You are capable of going everywhere and anywhere. There are many others just like you who have ascended the ranks of The Bahamas’ Civil Service, the corporate world, the business world, the legal world and are doing extremely well.”
Minister Lloyd applauded the contributions of the faculty and staff at the Centre — led by School Principal Mrs. Sonja Rolle — in mentoring the students. Twenty-nine students were enrolled for the past school year. “I want to congratulate you and your wonderful team here for the work that you do and thank you profoundly. If teaching is a special calling, then working with some of the more vulnerable constituencies of the population is even more – it is a divine assignment because what we are dealing with here is an extraordinary case of service to our Bahamian people,” Minister Lloyd said. “I am proud of you parents here today and all of those who realize that there is nothing different about them except that they have a special calling and that it is our job to wake up and allow them to express that, and allow them to manifest that. Congratulations dear parents and thank you so much. We are here to support you.”
Min. Lloyd told the graduates that their much-anticipated enrolment in BTVI will pay huge dividends for them and their families. The quintet, who all graduated with honours, has expressed the desire to become business owners upon completion of their studies at BTVI. “I am proud that we have a relationship with BTVI (Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute) such that you are able to realize whatever your career desires are. (At BTVI) you are going to have the opportunity to become certified in whatever discipline you choose – not just any piece of paper, (but) certification that transcends these borders called The Bahamas. I congratulate you. I am proud of you. May God Bless you always is my prayer,” Minister Lloyd added.