By Robyn Adderley
Bahamas Information Services
PELICAN POINT, Grand Bahama – A Home Going Service was held for Mr. Leviticus ‘Vittie’ Thomas in Pelican Point on the weekend. Mr. Thomas was dearly appreciated, and missed, by the Grand Bahama community. The Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis said that even before there was Urban Renewal, ‘Vittie’ Thomas assisted the development of marching bands and organized music, and was known as the ‘disciple of music’ in East Grand Bahama.
Mr. Thomas was known to have assisted settlements, churches and bands to reach their goals. “When asked, without question, he got to it and got the job done,” said Mr. Davis. “That spirit of enthusiastic cooperation must be cultivated and transplanted across The Bahamas. I will say this until I see significant improvement: we have become a selfish people. We have gotten to the point where our neighbour’s children are not our business and our children’s problems belong to them alone. That is not the Bahamian way. Urban Renewal is focused toward cultivating the spirit of people like Mr. Thomas — positive and purposed.”
Though unschooled, Mr. Thomas was a diesel mechanic, working with the United States Air Force Base from its inception in 1949 to its closure in 1992. The Ministry of Works depended on him heavily to oversee the maintenance of the water system in Pelican Point after its installation in the early 1970s. His skills, said the Deputy Prime Minister, also took him all over Grand Bahama to do repairs at government schools and offices.
“It is not often that we are afforded the privilege of meeting giants. It is even more infrequent that we meet unassuming giants.” The Deputy Prime Minister then said, “It is my honour, therefore, to offer the Government’s final salute to Mr. Vittie Thomas — one of Grand Bahama’s finest sons — premier Good Samaritan — political strategist extraordinaire – exemplary citizen.”
Also giving remarks was the Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville who said it was only a few weeks ago they had gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Mr. Thomas, not knowing it would be the last time many would see him alive.
He said, “service to God and country is one of the most honourable means by which any citizen of this great Commonwealth can contribute to the building of this nation. Vittie Thomas demonstrated this love and commitment to The Bahamas as a successful leader in his own right, through many years of excellent service as an engineering technician both as a public servant and in the private sector. ”
Mr. Thomas was a man who could train and because of his commitment to youth development, many young professionals in Grand Bahama and Abaco can attest to his skills as a diesel mechanic.
Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama and Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition Free National Movement, K. Peter Turnquest was also among those giving tribute to Mr. Thomas, one who touched many lives.