Minister Collie Addresses CC Sweeting Students

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Minister of Lands and Local Government, the Hon. Sidney Collie addresses a special assembly at the CC Sweeting Senior High School under the theme ‘National Environment Day’ on Wednesday, March 5, 2008. The Minister visited the school as part of the Ministry’s 2nd Annual Awareness Month of activities. (Photo/Raymond A. Bethel)

By: Llonella Gilbert

NASSAU, Bahamas — Minister of Lands and Local Government the Hon. Sidney Collie explained to students of the CC Sweeting Senior High School that the most dangerous threat to the country’s fragile ecosystem is damage to its wetlands, hills and seacoast.

Mr. Collie encouraged the students to be mindful of the importance of swamps, wetlands, the hills and the seashore.

“Without those aspects of the environment,” he said, “our country will be devastated by hurricanes and other weather related conditions.”

Mr. Collie spoke at a special assembly at the senior high school Wednesday under the theme ‘National Environment Day’. He was visiting the school as part of the Ministry’s 2nd Annual Awareness Month of activities.

The Minister, senior officials in the Ministry and representatives of various departments were welcomed to the school by Principal Mrs. Delores Ingraham and other staff, teachers and students.

During the special assembly, Mr. Collie also had another serious and strong message for the students.

He told them that as a former teacher of CC Sweeting, he is disturbed by the negative news stories of that school’s students being involved in violent fights and confrontations, noting that good citizenship means getting a good education and having manners and respect.

Mr. Collie said, “You live in a generation where you beat your chest; you use harsh words; you see what is displayed on the television and the video tapes and you believe that is what is going to get you across the threshold into good citizenship.”

“I come here to tell you that you are wrong. That attitude is going to get you in prison; it is going to get you a criminal record; it is going to stop you from getting a career or a trade.

“It is going to get you in jail, and if you continue the grave. It is as bad as that.”

Mr. Collie explained that good citizenship also involves students preparing themselves to take over the responsibility of leading the country.

He told them not to waste the money of their parents or the government, or the time and resources of their teachers. He also said students should take advantage of the privilege of attending school free of charge and stay out of trouble.

“Students your age in South America, Africa and certain parts of Asia do not have the privilege of getting a secondary education free of charge preparing them for citizenship after they leave school.”

While he told the male students to stay out of Her Majesty’s Prison, he also had a special message for the female students.

“Young ladies keep your honour, save yourself and get ready for womanhood after you get an education. Do not listen to the sweet talk; it cannot get you anywhere but trouble.”

Mr. Collie and officials from the various departments in his Ministry will continue visiting schools for the month of March. The Ministry will also open an exhibition of its various departments Monday, March 10, in the foyer of the Post Office, East Hill Street.