Sir Sidney Poitier Recognised in Los Angeles by Bahamas Government

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Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis Makes Presentation on Behalf of Government

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Davis (right) speaks with Sir Sidney Poitier (centre), at a Los Angeles, California, dinner in Sir Sidney’s honour, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service the Hon. Fred Mitchell looks on.

LOS ANGELES, California – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Davis said, on August 21, 2012, that Sir Sidney Poitier’s remarkable achievements in the motion picture business and in literature are a testament to what can be accomplished by a person brave and principled enough to follow the mantra “work hard, study, be excellent, be honest”.

“Sir Sidney has enhanced the cultural life of his two states of citizenship- the United States of America and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” Deputy Prime Minister Davis said, at a dinner honouring the Oscar-winner, in Los Angeles, California.

Among those present for the event were Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell, former basketball player and actor Rick Fox and former Los Angeles Lakers legends John Salley and Bahamian Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson.

After chronicling Sir Sidney’s early life, from his days growing up on a working farm on the island of Cat Island – where the Deputy Prime Minister also has ties  – to his early career, Deputy Prime Minister Davis said that Sir Sidney is joined by other great cultural icons with birth connections to The Bahamas, who have contributed to both states, such as the composer James Weldon Johnson; journalist, lawyer, scholar and activist W.E.B. DuBois; ground-breaking performer Burt Williams and actors Esther Rolle and Roxie Roker.

“His Excellency was awarded a knighthood by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth as a citizen of The Bahamas many years ago for extraordinary service to The Bahamas,” Deputy Prime Minister Davis added.  “Sir Sidney has served The Bahamas as Ambassador to Japan and as Ambassador to UNESCO.

“I don’t believe that there is a single person in Japan who doesn’t know about The Bahamas because of Sir Sidney’s gracious service to The Bahamas as our principal diplomatic presence over the years.”

Deputy Prime Minister Davis added that, indeed, even when not formally serving as a diplomat, Sir Sidney always takes The Bahamas with him wherever he goes.  The Bahamas could not ask for a more extraordinary ambassador, he said.

“To say that we Bahamians are extremely proud of Sidney Poitier is to understate the obvious,” Deputy Prime Minister said.  “We recognise this great man as one of our finest sons. We are grateful that even after he achieved his extraordinary success, he never left us. We are so much better as a nation for his service and for his example.”

Deputy Prime Minister Davis added that Sir Sidney taught so many Bahamians to “dream big, to reach for the stars”.

“We celebrate you, Sir.  You are a national treasure,” he said.

“And, so, to you, with love on behalf of the Rt. Hon Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Perry Gladstone Christie, and the warm People of The Bahamas – and, in particular, on behalf of the wonderful people of Cat Island that I have the great honour to represent in the Bahamian House of Assembly, we are honoured to pay tribute to you tonight.”