The Central Abaco Public Events Committee presented a red carpet affair with a Christmas Banquet and Award Presentation at the Bahamas Government Complex on Dec. 12. The event recognized public servants who have served the government for 25 years or more.
As Master of Ceremonies, Leroy Thompson acknowledged special guests seated at the head table before requesting a moment of silence in memory of Austin Mills, a longtime educator and principal of Fox Town Primary School, who was laid to rest earlier that day.
Thompson then invited Kathyann Ferguson, one of the committee members, to deliver the welcome. Jeremy Sweeting, Chief Councillor for the Hope Town District, was the first to bring remarks. Sweeting wished everyone a Merry Christmas, and he congratulated all public servants who were being honoured. Before taking his seat, however, Sweeting presented Cunningham with a handcrafted half model boat.
Next up was George Cornish, Chief Councillor for the Central Abaco District. He congratulated the honourees on behalf of the District Council noting that when they would have looked over their lives, they could consider how blessed they have been. He concluded with the reminder that children should be taught the true meaning of Christmas, which is about Jesus.
Administrator Preston Cunningham was the next speaker, and he picked up from where Cornish had left off in his remarks. Cunningham said it was time to celebrate the yuletide season, and to celebrate the gift of Christ as they honoured the hard work of so many public servants. He acknowledged that he, Dr. Black and Leroy Thompson were all celebrating 44 years of service.
“Public servants are the fuel that helps the engine in our country to keep going because we serve with pride despite all that we are faced with,” Cunningham expressed. “The good you do may be forgotten tomorrow, but do good anyway. The Bahamas is well off because of what public servants have done.”
Finally, Parliamentary Secretary and MP for North Abaco, Renardo Curry, addressed the audience. He commended Cunningham for his unwavering support while he’s been in office, and was sad to hear that Cunningham would be transferred to Grand Bahama before the month of December ended.
Turning his attention to the honourees, Curry commended all public servants for their service to the government and for numerous years of putting in a lot of time and sacrifice.
“You are the machinery behind any successful government, and you’ve served with distinction,” Curry acknowledged.
Following dinner, the awards presentation was held. Department of Education honourees were: Rosamae Davis, 46 years; Dr. Lenora Black, 44 years; Leroy Thompson, 44 years; Myrtis Russell, 43 years; Vera Williams, 43 years; Felamease Sawyer, 41 years; Ruth Smith, 43 years; Charles Walker, 38 years; Carolyn Bain, 35 years; Starlene Prenelus, 35 years; Ethlene McIntosh, 31 years; and Bernadine Thompson, 29 years.
In Local Government, Administrator Preston Cunningham, 44 years; Mary Deveaux, 32 years; and Cecile Davis, 29 years. Other honourees included: Jeremie Saunders, 29 years, Dept. of Marine Resources; Sharon Coakley, 31 years, Public Treasury Department; Cleveland Dawkins, 41 years; and Jeffery McKinney, 28 years, Bahamas Customs Department; Sarah Dawkins, 36 years; and Marguerite Cornish, 31 years of service in the Bahamas Immigration Department; Troy Mills, 30 years, at the Port Department; Barrington Murphy, 29 years; and Clarington Anderson, 29 years, at the Water and Sewerage Corporation; and Cpl. Garvin Mackey for 25 years of service to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Cunningham received additional gifts and heartfelt expressions of appreciation from his staff at the Administrator’s Office and the organizers of the events.
As the evening ended under a canopy of stars, New Entry Band entertained the guests with a special musical performance.