REMARKS: 2019 National High School Basketball Championships Ring Ceremony

Protocol having already been established, Honourable Ministers, Principal, staff and students at St. Georges High School, 2019 Basketball Champions, Good Evening.

Tonight, I celebrate with you your major achievement. Your 2019 win at the National High School Basketball Championship is one that is admirable and a true representation of what hard work and determination will get you. You became history makers for not just your school, but the entire community of Grand Bahama. For that, you should be proud.

You now have your championship rings, which you will forever have as a reminder of your major achievement and the stellar high school basketball career you leave behind. 

My government is committed to ensuring we positively impact the lives of the young and old throughout the length and breadth of our beautiful Bahamaland. In our Blueprint For Change, we outlined investing in our youth through not just education, but their talents in sports and creativity. 

Whether it be through providing the necessary funding to athletes who represent the country at international events, or funding training for aspiring athletes, this government is investing in the future of our sporting talent. 

We have world-class talent right here at home, which is why we believe giving the tools and support to our athletes is key. With this investment in our future, I’m sure we will see many more athletes like Buddy Hield, Jonquel Jones and Kai Jones. These are all great Bahamian-raised talent who now shine on the international stage – two of which are a son and daughter of this same island of Grand Bahama. 

We want to see sports in this country come alive again. We are actively leveraging the power of the world’s top athletic brands to reintroduce ‘Sports in Paradise.’ The goal is to encourage major international sports federations and leagues to utilize The Bahamas as a base, especially during the off-seasons in their home countries. We’re also looking to attract the IAAF World Relays back to The Bahamas.

When it comes to Grand Bahama- we’ve made a pledge to rescue and restore this island. The time has come for Grand Bahama to live up to its true potential. This government is working to make that happen. A new hospital is on the way, with construction to begin this year. And we know economic growth on the island can only happen with a fully functioning airport. We are working to have short-term repairs at the existing site, as we weigh the cost of refurbishing and rebuilding the airport. 

But tonight, Grand Bahama, this occasion is about you and celebrating your sons and their achievements. While your three-year wait for your championship rings was long, I am happy that we are able to make this occasion a reality for you. Your victory was hard-earned and deserving of honour. I could not miss the opportunity to congratulate you myself. And so tonight, on behalf of my wife Ann-Marie and the Honourable Fred Mitchell and all of my Cabinet colleagues, I say, congratulations! Continue to shine and be stellar examples of hard work and the talent that lives here in our beautiful Bahamas. 

Thank you.