PM to National Youth Leaders: “I encourage you to never allow the flames of promise to go out. Nurture your dreams and guard your future with everything you’ve got”

The Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, presents Matthew Williams with the “Youth in Agriculture” award at the National Youth Awards, October 26, 2022.

The celebration of the youth of the nation during National Youth Month continued with a night of honoring youth and youth mentors at the 2022 National Youth Awards at the Myles Munroe Diplomat Center, October 26th, 2022.

Under the theme for the month “Youth Building a B.O.L.D. Future: Bright, Optimistic, Label-less and Diverse,” The National Youth Awards brought together young people who are making impactful change in the nation. Taking the time out to honor and encourage the youth of the nation is important to the nation’s destiny and prosperity, according to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis.

“My one dream today is of a Bahamas where all young people can dream freely and boldly. I envision The Bahamas where all our youth have the engagement, resources, and support necessary to step into adulthood as happy, thriving, fulfilled individuals. Tonight, we gather here to honor talented young Bahamians and stand in firm support of their dreams. We must never tire of working for a better Bahamas.”

The prime minister also reminded all youth to strive toward positivity and to be proactive and protective of the goals they have set for themselves.

“I encourage you to never allow the flame of promise to go out. Nurture your dreams and guard your future with everything you’ve got,” he said. “Cultivate an attitude of radical optimism. No matter what, fight for the good and never allow the dissenting voice to deter you from your destiny. You are born to be great. You are born to lead. You are born to be you.”

The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, the Hon. Mario Bowleg emphasized the magnitude of the youth remaining an active part of society.

“You all are truly deserving of this moment. We believe that there is no future if our youth are not sitting at the table, lending a hand in the development process,” he said.

The Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting, who presented the award for Youth in Agriculture, encouraged and applauded the youth who have dedicated their time and advocacy to the advancement of agriculture in The Bahamas.

“As a result of their contributions, these agriculturalists play a crucial role in the life of our economy and are considered the backbone of our economic system,” he said.

In addition to the youth awardees, there were also special tributes and Patron awards given to Leslie and Yvonne McDonald, a couple from Grand Bahama who helped to shape the lives of youth through community outreach programs such as the forming of the ‘Legends Marching Band’ by Mr. McDonald and the role of Commandant of the Grand Bahama Girls’ Brigade by Mrs. McDonald. A posthumous Patron award was also given to sports legend and community builder, Anita Doherty.

“Their life’s work reflects invaluable contributions to the advancement of our youth, youth organizations and the strength of our nation. Their boldness and courage have paved the way for many of us to be here today,” Minister Bowleg said of the Patron award recipients.

In addition to musical tributes to the Lifetime Achievement awardees, the night saw lively performances by the Urban Renewal Youth Band, Prophet Lawrence “The Singing Bishop” Rolle and various musical tributes to the Patron Awardees. After acknowledging the importance of pausing to honor high-achieving youth and mentors, Minister Bowleg reminded the youth of the significance of living boldly.

“Remember that you are enough. There is no room for doubt. Be bold enough to embrace the opportunities before you. To make a difference. The world is waiting for you,” he said.

Awardees List:
Louise Simmons Youth Ally  
Antoine Duncombe 
Youth in Education 
Rashad Cunningham
Youth in Sports Award
Hannah D’aguilar 
Youth in Entrepreneurship Award
Blaire Percentie 
Youths in Arts and Culture Award
Nathan McPhee 
Patty Miller Youth in Government Award
Denzel Bazard 
Youth in Personal Triumph Award
Caleb Johnson 
Youth in Leadership Award
A’Kari Burnside 

Rising Star Awards
Community Volunteerism: Anwar Rolle Jr.
Sports: Taylen Nicolls
Education: Jerlea Adderley
Leadership: Tracy Johnson
Environment: Aaliyah Rolle
Patron Award
Leslie McDonald
Yvonne McDonald
Anita Doherty
Youth in Religion Award
LaCroix Gibson
Youth in the Environment Award
Dellon Evans 
Youth in Agriculture Award
Matthew Williams 
Youth in Community Volunteerism Award
Tonica Gardiner 
Youth Organization Award
Rotaract club
People’s Choice Award
Dachye Stubbs 
Director’s Cup 
Caleb Johnson 
Minister’s Cup
Blaire Percentie

Prime Minister’s Cup
Rashad Cunningham

By Carissa Williamson/Bahamas Information Services

More photo highlights below:

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis presents Rashad Cunningham with the Prime Minister’s Cup. Cunningham was also the recipient of the “Youth in Education” award at the National Youth Awards, October 26, 2022.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Mario Bowleg presents Blaire Percentie with the Minister’c Cup. Percentie also received the “Youth in Entrepreneurship” award at the National Youth Awards, October 26, 2022.

Paratriathlete and disability rights advocate, Erin Brown, presents award for “Youth in Personal Triumph” at the National Youth Awards; an award won by Caleb Johnson, October 26th, 2022.