FREEPORT, The Bahamas – Quoting a Chinese proverb “seven times down, eight times up,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie motivated over two hundred young girls in Freeport to never give up on their dreams, and to be prepared to put in the necessary work to fulfilling those dreams.
“The moral of the proverb is simple – no matter how many times you fall down, if you can get back up again, then nothing would be impossible for you to accomplish,” Prime Minister Christie explained.
The Prime Minister was the keynote speaker at the “Sisters of Strength Annual Youth Empowerment Expo,” which was held at the Le Château on the Green on Saturday morning in Freeport. The program has been designed to uplift girls to dream big and to believe in themselves.
The keynote address became a three-man motivational tag-team, as the Prime Minister invited Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe and Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville to also address the group of girls between the ages of 12-18 and tell them about some of the challenges they each went through in their lives and how they overcame those obstacles and challenges through learning to dream, believe and achieve their dreams.
Minister Wilchcombe’s motivational words were delivered in a description of how he went against the odds to secure a job at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas at the tender age of 15 as a journalist, making $75 per week.
“Your biggest issue as young people in this day and time is staying focused,” Minister Wilchcombe said. “When I was growing up, we had television, but there were very few channels. Now, you have hundreds of channels on the television, you have internet, social media, video games and all sorts of things that can distract you from the goals you may have set for your life.
“But if you can by-pass all of those distractions, there could be no limit to what you can accomplish in your lifetime.”
Dr. Darville told the girls how he came from humble beginnings, yet, through determination and a dream, went on to do well in school, obtain a college degree, become a doctor and was afforded the opportunity to not only become involved in politics, but to hold a Cabinet position in the Christie Administration.
“I will always remember the words my mother told me,” said Dr. Darville. “She would look at me and say ‘Michael, you’re going to be somebody. God is going to raise you up from where you are, so prepare yourself so that when the opportunity comes along, you can be successful.’ ”
Using the comments of both Ministers Wilchcombe and Darville as a foundation for his address, Prime Minister Christie concurred with both men, telling the young ladies that if they could embrace a dream and believe it, they could certainly achieve it.
“But there is an element that sits between believing and archiving and that is work,” said Prime Minister Christie. “My point is, it’s not just enough to have a dream and to believe it, but you must be willing to put in the work – however much that may entail – in order to make your dream a reality.”
Prime Minister Christie gave the girls a glimpse into his life, revealing some of his disappointments in the pursuit of his dreams, like the time when he was put out of Government High School at the age of 13 and the challenges of being told by teachers that he did not have the ability to learn.
“But look what I have become today,” Mr. Christie told the girls. “I had to make up my mind to never give up and as long as there were a few people who did believe in me, as long as I was willing to put in the work that allowed me to pull myself up and make something of myself.
“You can do the same thing. You can be somebody, as long as you’re willing to dream big. Ms. McBride and her team have formed this organization to tell you girls that they believe in you and that they believe that you could be somebody.”
The Prime Minister also encouraged the girls that in the midst of their dreaming, believing and putting in the hard work to achieve their dreams, they must also make the decision to keep themselves pure sexually and not allow anyone to take advantage of them, nor allow what they achieve to be thrown away because of teenage pregnancy.