In July, Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Co. (BBB), and Sands Beer held their Sands Man in the Boat Sculling Championship with a Sculling Boat Motorcade that led to the Treasure Cay Public Beach. The event was outfitted with an E-class and junior sailing category and a sculling competition.
However, the participants were not the only ones to walk away with grand prizes.
A portion of the proceeds raised from the sculling championship was set aside for the Cooper’s Town Township Library and Community Lab.
Gerrard Sawyer, Brand Portfolio Representative for Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Co., met with members of the Cooper’s Town Township Committee on Sept. 12 to donate four top-of-the-line computers to the computer lab.
Sawyer explained that the company goes from island to island to host sculling races, and this year they decided to take advantage of the Treasure Cay Public Beach. After speaking with the district’s council members, they were able to pinpoint one of North Abaco’s greatest needs.
“We’re a truly Bahamian company, so we wanted to give back to the community,” Sawyer said. “They had needs with the library [and computer lab], so from the proceeds raised, we are donating computers.
“The youth need something to do, so they have facilities where they can go online, have something to do and do something productive. They have books to read and computers to use, so I think donation will go a long way.”
The Sands Beer delegation brought their boats, which double as E-class sailing boats and sculling boats down for the competition at their own expense, and Sawyer believed it was all worthwhile for the fun, family event.
“Sailing and sculling is a part of the Bahamian culture, but we saw sculling as a sport that started to die,” he said.
Nevertheless, the sport is gaining renewed interest. After the North Abaco District Council suggested that Sands Beer have the championships here this year, the management team took them up on their offer. Sawyer was pleased to announce that the National Sculling Competition of The Bahamas will take place in North Abaco on Nov. 2. Last year, the championship was held in Grand Bahama where their brewery is located.
Chief Councillor Gary Smith thanked Sawyer for coming back to North Abaco with the significant donation, and for following up with Sands Beers’ agreement with them because there are costs associated with facilities that are offered to the public for free.
“We just need Internet service, and we need to get the air conditioning completed. We shouldn’t go no further than the first of October because this place has to be opened – the need is here,” Smith explained. “There are many kids in these areas that do not have computers and books at their disposal, and this is why we built this facility.”
Smith said that the Cooper’s Town/ Fire Road Homecoming Committee actually started the project for the construction of the library and computer lab under the then chairman Eric Collie. Former Chief Councillor Steve Pedican also put a lot of emphasis on the project, and they received lots of financial assistance from the council.
Garneth Edgecombe, chairman, was invited to speak because the building of the facility was his pet program. He said he hopes it goes a long way in Cooper’s Town, and that it will be an example to other communities regarding what they can do with funds given to local government.
Clyde Cornish, councilor responsible for the Fire Road and Black Wood communities, said the donation will go a long way to enhance the educational system for the children of North Abaco while keeping them off the streets and keep them away from crimes.
While the Cooper’s Town Township has a small budget, Smith said a lot has been done. The lab is equipped with 15 computer stations, and the library can comfortably accommodate 20 or more people. The facility will be open to the public in general because Smith recognizes that there are many people going through serious financial times and who can’t pay their bills.
“This facility is going to help those kids. We must put in place everything possible in these communities to help our people especially the youth, the kids because that is part of what local government does,” he shared. “We are supposed to build people. Local government is supposed to reach the heart of the people.”
The Cooper’s Town Township Library and Community Lab will be open during day and evening hours from Monday to Saturday.
When the Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Co. returns to North Abaco in November, Smith assured Sawyer that the event will be much better. He acknowledged the District Council office staff as well as Administrator Neil Campbell and his office for their role in helping to set up the event.