Deputy Prime Minister Calls on Students to Recognize and Appreciate Their Differences

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The Hon. Philip Davis, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development, is shown greeting students of South Andros High school. BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna
The Hon. Philip Davis, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development, is shown greeting students of South Andros High school. BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna

ANDROS, The Bahamas – As Commonwealth Countries celebrated Commonwealth Day 2016 around the globe, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development urged students, faculty and administrators of South Andros High School to celebrate their diverse differences.

“I want you to imagine how boring the world would be if all of us were the same. Everyone was just alike … look alike, talk alike, walk alike, think alike. Boring, boring, boring. God made us all different but in His image and likeness. That can only be cause for celebration,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

Commonwealth Day is celebrated every year on the second Monday in March. This year’s theme is “An Inclusive Commonwealth” and recognizes the diversity of the Commonwealth, which comprises more than 2 billion people.

Minister Davis was one of several speakers participating in the school’s special assembly on Monday, March 13. The Hon. Picewell Forbes, High Commissioner to CARICOM and MP for Central and South Andros; Shena Duncombe, Principal; Sheldon Gibson, District Superintendent; Fairdale Smith, Chief Councilor; and Gregory Knowles, Administrator also gave remarks. Highlights of the ceremony were student performances of songs, skits, raps and a fashion show. Milagros Johnson read the Queen’s 2016 Commonwealth Day message.

In his address, the Deputy Prime Minister said when diversity is celebrated every day and in many different ways, people see that differences are really not a big deal and realize differences should add value to everything they do.

“We must be able to celebrate our diversity in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility. We have to move away from the tendency to try changing people into something else in order to love them. We must learn to love others for who they are.”

“As simple as eating lunch with different people each week so that you can meet different groups of people is an easy way to learn to celebrate differences, he suggested.

The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out the pervading problem of violence in the country. “That violence stems from an anger that issues from childhood – an anger that defines an inability to tolerate differences – an anger that will destroy our nation if all of us do not take action to change.

“Here in South Andros, you may feel that as long as all is well is here, too bad for ‘them.’ We are one Bahamas. What affects one affects us all. So, I encourage you to do all that you can to make a positive impact on our Bahamas.”

Students are shown reciting the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance. BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna
Students are shown reciting the nation’s Pledge of Allegiance. BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna

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