PM Christie Lauds the Honouring of 38 ‘Athletic Legends’

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said that it was always a “special pleasure” for him to participate in any ceremony that lifts up the names of people who have impacted The Bahamas in “very special ways”.

“The word ‘legend’, in itself, speaks to the fact that history will accord each of you a very special place in the annals of sporting history in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Christie said at the 43rd Independence Celebrations Ceremony Honouring Athletic Legends, at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, July 21, 2016.

Also among the dignitaries present at the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Brave Davis, Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson.

The Thirty Eight Honourees for the nation’s 43rd Anniversary of Independence are: Eddie Ford; Frank “Pancho” Rahming for Track and Field Coaching; Ed Smith for Football; Donnie Martinborough for Sailing; Edward Leon “Apache” Knowles for Softball; Wil Culmer for Baseball; Keith Parker for Coaching; Bradley Cooper for Discus and Shot Put; Sterling Quant for Basketball; Ray Minus Jr. for Boxing; Sir Arlington Butler as a Trainer; Tom “The Bird” Grant for various sports; Leonard “Boston Blackie” Miller for Boxing and Cycling; Cecil Rose for Basketball; Cynthia “Mother Pratt” for Volleyball; Ivan Johnson for Cricket; Della Thomas – Bodybuilding; Andy Knowles as a swimming coach; Peter Gilcud for Basketball; Dr. Timothy Barrett for Triple Jump; Chavano “Buddy” Hield for Basketball; George “Tony” Curry for Baseball; Yolett McPhee McCuin as an NCAA Women’s Basketball Coach; Vince Ferguson for various sports; Dame Albertha Isaacs for Tennis; Byron Ferguson for Volleyball; Richard “The Lionheart” Johnson for Softball; Gorman Gomeo Brennan for Boxing; Edmundo Moxey for Baseball; Candice DeGregory Culmer for Softball; Fred “Papa” Smith for Baseball; Linda Ford for Softball; Glen “The Master” Griffin for Softball; Charles Thompson for Basketball; Randy Rolle Sr. for Baseball; Laverne Eve for Javelin; Edney Bethel for Softball and Jonquel Jones for Basketball.

Prime Minister Christie told the 38 athletic legends recognized that day that there were so many of them who had “lifted the spirits of Bahamians” wherever they had played or served.

Prime Minister Christie shared stories about how he knew each honouree and the part they played in his life, telling in particular, how he met a nine-year-old Buddy Hield and they posed for a photograph, where the youngster insisted that he held the basketball for the group shot.

He pointed out that Mr. Hield was not living, at the time, a life of “any degree of comfort” financially in his household.

“This is one of the magnificent stories of our country, where so many of you can reminisce tonight, looking back at your own past, to know that life was not easy for you and your family; and the conditions under which you worked, you played, you performed, was not as some have it today — and that even to those of you who performed, you did not even have the nutritional contribution that some of the modern athletes have (for proper physical development),” Prime Minister Christie said.

Prime Minister Christie noted that one of the great challenges for The Bahamas comes out of one of its strengths — the fact it is an island-nation, spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean.

“It means that many of the children of our country who are gifted will not have their talents and their gifts seen, discovered, nourished, promoted,” he said.  “The opportunities will not be there for them unless we can find; unless we can give them facilities in their islands to be able to develop their talents.

Prime Minister Christie said that The Bahamas has witnessed some of the great talents coming out of the Family Islands and Grand Bahama — even creating competition with New Providence athletes, which fosters further development and needed “controlled-tension”.

“We have seen the softball players of Abaco beat the softball players of everyone in the country; so we know that the gifts and the talents are there,” Prime Minister Christie noted.

“So, I urge those of us who are in public life, and on both sides of the democracy, to recognize that we have an obligation to understand the relationship between those young people who contribute to the sporting development of our country and, in the process, uplift the glorification of sports through their achievements,” he added.

“We owe them a further commitment to develop our country on the basis that they have demonstrated what sports, talents and gifts can do for The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Christie said.

“We should feel good, notwithstanding the challenges of our country, about what our country has been able to produce and there is no secret to the fact that the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, per capita, is the greatest sporting nation in the entire world. God Bless The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

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