Prime Minister notes symbolism of Urban Renewal and ‘Government Grounds’ – Christie’s vision for program is helping Bahamians

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Christie Urban Renewal quiets the sounds of gunshots and fills inner city community with music

Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie listens with appreciation as the Urban Renewal Band performs November 14 under the direction of Police Sergeant 2515 Campbell. Mr. Christie says the band's tremendous progress is one of the many positives of Urban Renewal 2.0. Also pictured are: Mrs. Cynthia "Mother" Pratt and Mr. Algernon Allen, Co-Chairs of the Urban Renewal Commission.

Nassau, The Bahamas – Urban Renewal is the continuation of the cry for a better way of life, and for more opportunities for people who are without, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said Wednesday.

Addressing a ceremony acknowledging receipt of a $40,000 donation from businessman Franklyn Wilson and his wife, Senate President Mrs. Sharon Wilson, on the observance of the Wilson’s 40th wedding anniversary and held at the Southern Recreation Grounds (also known as the Government Grounds), Mr. Christie said it was symbolic that the ceremony was held at the Grounds which are rich in Bahamian history and tradition.

Mr. Christie said the ‘Government Grounds’ and the surrounding areas played a key role that the fight for equality, for a better way of life and for more opportunities for people who were without.

The Prime Minister said the area was also home to the formation of an organisation for Bahamian university and/or colleges, which propelled many of the members into the political forefront.

Mr. Wilson, he said, was a key component in the formation of that organisation initially known as UNI-COLL, but later changed to UNI-COM.

Businessman, Mr. Franklyn Wilson (second right) and his wife, Senate President Mrs. Sharon Wilson (second left), were the guests of honour at a ceremony acknowledging receipt of the Wilsons' $40,000 donation to the Urban Renewal Programme, Wednesday, November 14, at the basketball court at the Southern Recreation Grounds. Also pictured (first left) are: Mrs. Cynthia "Mother" Pratt and Mr. Algernon Allen (first right), Co-Chairs of the Urban Renewal Commission.

“One day I turned to Dr. Bernard Nottage in a place called Shepherd’s Bush, London, England, and said to him, ‘let us go home to The Bahamas and hook up with Frankie Wilson and form an organisation for students at university and colleges abroad’ and we came home and hooked up with Frankie (and) formed something called UNI-COLL (University-Colleges) which later graduated to UNI-COM (University-Community),” Mr. Christie began.

“We were a part of an idealistic generation of young people who at the time was a part of those who were being inspired to think of a better day for Bahamas and Bahamians.

“That inspiration was coming right from this field here where the leaders of our time massed the people of the country and spoke to them about a better way of life and a new tomorrow; a new day; a new beginning, all here on the Government Ground as this site was known at that time.”

Prime Minister Christie said St. Agnes Schoolroom was the meeting place for UNI-COM when the organisation gained some news mileage after Sir Stafford Sands turned down an invitation to meet with them.

“I remember we invited Stafford Sands to come to a meeting with us and Paul Adderley and Lynden Pindling and he refused to come and it became the headline of the day because we, as budding politicians and political activists, had taken the view that we had to stand with the leaders of our time – Pindling, Hanna, Whitfield, Foulkes, Milo Butler, Carlton Francis, all big names. We were the young who were being prepared for today,” Mr. Christie said.

The Prime Minister said Urban Renewal 2.0 “is a continuation of that” as the Programme aspires to find ways to improve the quality of lives for all Bahamians while providing them with opportunities to succeed.

“As we approach the 40th anniversary of Independence, we want to use this occasion to lift up the stories of great Bahamians – some who still live, others who have gone on to their eternal reward – so that their contributions can be appreciated and can be used as a source of inspiration for many young people who when they think of themselves, they are able to look at examples and say, ‘Yes I can do that, yes I can be like them,’” Mr. Christie added.

Prime Minister Christie joined Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Bernard J. Nottage in applauding the Wilsons for their donation.

“You have never forgotten where you came from and it is no accident that you have been able to, in this short lifetime of yours relatively speaking, touch the lives of the people who house institutions; the people who make up organisations such as Junior Achievement; the Anglican Church and the College of The Bahamas and I know all of those things were done not in the glare of publicity.

“There are people in our country with the same means who do not do what you do with theirs. I really applaud you for that and that is why I made it a point to come out here today,” Mr. Christie added.

Christie and Davis on the ground pointing the way to helping uplift inner-city communities.