Bahamians shamed and disgraced as scam artists took centre stage…Project Bahamas where yinner hiding????

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Donovan Bowe

Ten Rounds

Loose me, I had a little time on my hands

The words are mine, the feelings attached to them are also mine. The commentary will be peppered with comedy because that is how I write. This post is not intended to demean or take away from the greatness that graced the stage, I celebrate you without reservation and believe that you are deserving of your various wins; and I congratulate you.

However, disrespect is no laughing matter. (Though I laughed a great deal last night to maintain my composure.) As a young leader I know what it is to want people to buy into your vision. But how you treat people will determine just how far that vision goes or grows. At the onset let me state I have not reached out to Project Bahamas or the organizers, the offense was public so my post is public.

Ingratitude is sinful, to those that nominated me as a Top Millennial – I say a huge thank you. I also thank you for dropping me into one of the wildest nights of my life in a long time.

These words are penned from the perspective of a “Semi-Finalist”.

Project Bahamas’ Top 48 & 49 Millennials Awards Event was held at the beautiful Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island last evening (August 6th, 2022)- The event was advertised as a formal, red-carpet event to be hosted by Sacha the Duchess and Das Quay, general tickets were advertised at $50 and VIP $100- with a red carpet special for 6PM and Showtime at 7:30PM.

The event was “hyped” much more than it delivered.

Semi- Finalist were provided tickets, however guests or family that wished to attend the event had to purchase tickets for the prices I mentioned earlier.

Round One

“Celebrating our nation’s best”, I was informed I was a Semi-Finalist (Possibly among hundreds, not certain of the total) I thought oh boy I wouldn’t want my name to be called for such a recognition and not be present, as a result I travelled from Grand Bahama to New Providence for the event- all expenses related to the trip were incurred by me.

Round Two

I arrived at the event about 6:30pm (Fully Regaled- a little inside joke) prepared to walk the red carpet take a few pics etc. To my surprise it was more of a red runner with a step and repeat backdrop. (Poorly lit, I could not even take a nice selfie) I thought it was the Event Planner in me and that I was being overcritical and maybe it would get better.

Round Three

After making it to the photographer at the end of the “red runner” I tried to muster up a smile or my signature smize (Not entirely sure how that came out.) I was then banded by a lovely young lady who said go to the table and sign in. Feeling special, I did as I was instructed and had a pleasant interaction with the ladies at the table. I gave my name and was told I’m all set I can proceed in. I got to the door just a few steps away from the table and was told its open seating just sit anywhere. I was perplexed and attempted not to make a “Donovan face”. (People usually take offense to those) I thought it was the Protocol Officer in me and that I was being overcritical and maybe it would get better.

Round Four

I saw a few familiar faces and thought ok cool, I’ll sit here with them. It was a good thing I did because the wait would continue for some time. We sat there for just shy of an hour past the expected start time of the event. Nothing being said but great elevator music filled the room, as dashing suits and gorgeous gowns trickled into the room.

Finally, the event began, I use the word “began” loosely because for what I thought was a somewhat nationally recognized event (an impression solidified from the presence of the Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, and other dignitaries)- there was no prayer, no national anthem, no welcome, no statement of purpose “no nothing”. I thought it was the Educator in me and that I was being overcritical and maybe it would get better.

Round Five

The organizers jumped straight into a performance by Nishie L.S and Shine- which I was way too overdressed to enjoy (adhering to the advertised formal dress code but I still did my signature shoulder shake from my seat) while others looked on in awe as to whether the awards show had commenced, or this was a pre-show.

To add insult to injury here we are fully regaled (yes, I know I used that word already- I grew up listening to the radio and that phrase stuck) seated in Atlantis’ Theatre clad in gowns and suits and other fine garments, eating popcorn and hotdogs and drinking overpriced wine from plastic cups- which I should add were on sale and not complimentary.

Round Six

No explanation of the selection process for awardees for top 49 was given- the announcer (from backstage) just began calling presenters and recipients- some of the presenters were clearly oblivious that they were even set to present given either their placement in the room or the sheer look on their faces when their names were called (purely conjecture- but it’s what I saw)

Disabuse yourself of the idea that this post is being made because “I” didn’t win a finalist position in the awards. I probably should have said this earlier but before you get your underwear in a bunch – I didn’t attend “with expectancy in my heart” (the traditional Baptist in me) to win anything- however I did expect to be “recognized”.

Top 48 had great representation from Grand Bahama Island with household names like “Sarge”, Kerel Pinder, Dominiq Russell, Willis Mackey Jr., Laquez Williams, and others all winning for their Top 48 (2021) nominations.

This post is assuredly not a Nassau vs Freeport issue either, I’m a firm believer of bloom where you are planted.

Here comes Top 49- with more than six Grand Bahama “semifinalists” present in the room along with their spouses, families, friends etc. (many having travelled from Grand Bahama and purchased tickets to attend) No one living on GB and currently working in any field was recognized in the TOP 49. (There is the caveat of those who hail from Grand Bahama but have made their contributions elsewhere.)

So after having travelled from GB to attend the event, which was “interesting”, no GB Honoree was even recognized In top 49. If there was please tell me because I would hate to think that I missed them. I thought it was the “Freeport Boy” in me and that I was being overcritical and maybe it would get better.

Round Seven

Those who graced the stage, received on stage, a medal, and an unframed certificate some also got what appeared to be a black reusable grocery bag – my glasses couldn’t make out what the insignia on the bag was, but it was interesting (there is a better word to type here I’m sure but interesting will have to do for now.)

I had no adds in the booklet or magazine, hence my earlier reservation about winning anything (I know how these things work you have to pay to play) In regard to the booklet or magazine there were none at the event and no explanations were given (or sought by me) I thought it was the Graphic Designer in me and that I was being overcritical and maybe it would get better.

Project Bahamas has however put out a statement regarding the same.

Round Eight

At some point mid program the person I thought to be the lead face behind the event went ‘poof’. Now before ‘yinna’ come for me let me state I can’t say whether he went backstage or back home, I know he was never seen again by me (I would have loved to ask him a few questions in the heat of the moment to get some “immediate response” particularly as to exactly what type of calamity this was?)

There was a speech from the minister and pep talk from another lady whose name I don’t recall but I do remember much of what she said it went along the lines of building your own table and celebrating your small wins. (Now that I think of it, it may have been tailor made for the evening so that calm heads would prevail as this travesty was underway.)

The lead organizer or any individual representing the organization never took the stage to say anything- not even a thank you for coming. No Semi Finalists other than winners were named or recognized in any way. I thought it was the Master of Ceremonies in me and that I was being overcritical and maybe it would get better.

Round Nine

I was dressed to the nines and felt great- because I truly didn’t expect to win anything as I said earlier- but I did expect to at least “hear ma name” as a nominee/semifinalist and maybe even a little about the work I do in Special Education, Youth Work or Community Service. (Here I was practicing my little royal wave all day. I guess I’ll use it when I’m jumping on my flight home. LOL)

Then we braved the valet line for our vehicles which was just as long as the wait for the start of the show. (Some persons probably are still there waiting lol. This certainly was no fault of event organizers, I’m sure.)

Round Ten

All things considered I return to Grand Bahama just as motivated as I left to make real change in my community and the lives of those that need it most.

I would not go as far as to call Project Bahamas a scam because then that would loop them in with the people pretending to be Samsung employees telling me to collect my winnings. But last evenings production came dangerously close to scamming and was a slap in the face to many- (but this post is only from me lol)!

I took the time to take photos and catch up with old college buddies and fellow semifinalists.

But I did shake up to Nishe’s “Loose me” and her rendition of Bahamian Staples at the end of the night. (The major highlight for me.)

There was an after party at Bahamar but I never ventured there- my over-thirty awake clock was reaching its alarm.

Conclusions

As a nation we will get better only when we demand better. As we move to TOP 50 which will probably be more hyped than this years’, to the would-be nominees may the Lord go with you, ask questions, get answers.

Dear Don, here are eight nuggets:

  1. Manage your expectations- especially when details are sketchy.
  2. Say no, it sometimes cheaper.
  3. Be cautious because your version of something is not the only version.
  4. Listen to your cousin more, he told you this was questionable.
  5. Stay ya hip home, you too like to dress up.
  6. Ya ma send you to school to get learning and you have these people taking you for conch.
  7. You probably should have bought some popcorn- you’d be picking your teeth and have one less free hand to type this.
  8. As a kingdom citizen – stop seeking recognition here below, God has so much more.

-The Conch at Traveler’s Rest is amazing.
-The turtle pecan cluster blizzard at Dairy Queen is still as good as I remember them.
-The MCM store at Bahamar is where you are to buy my Christmas Gifts (Siblings take note)

  • Readers are leaders if you made it this far in the post congratulations.
  • the Let’s Read Bahamas Program is probably the most underrated MOE Program. (I digress)
  • If you see me in public please greet me as Top 49 Semi Finalist, LOL

Those who I’m tagging below I want your views on what you read or what you have experienced, was I overcritical, off base?
Autherine Turnquest-Hanna Brenny Cooper Sharade Laron Ashleigh Sean Rolle Ashley Rolle Kaylisa Simone Kemp Tamar FergusonTarran Simms Sapriya McintoshKahlil Kevell McIntosh David MackeyRomeko KnowlesKimberly BitterSweet Mullings Roxie StarrRashad Lynes-AbreuDeAndra V. Cartwright

Warm Regards,

Donovan Bowe
Top 49
Semi Finalist
Project Bahamas