Nassau, The Bahamas – The Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Works and Family Island Affairs on Monday underscored the government’s commitment to youth empowerment as his ministry strengthened its partnership with the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training (MOETVT) through its recently launched Co-Curricular Activities Programme.
Said Minister Sweeting, “The government’s commitment to youth empowerment remains crucial as it is a national goal for our administration. As such this new initiative for integration of sailing into our education system makes a significant leap forward for junior sailing in The Bahamas. Our vision is to establish a comprehensive programme encompassing primary to senior high schools, forming a feeder system that fosters a love for sailing from an early age.”
Along with creating opportunities for young people, he said the initiative makes a “significant” stride towards nurturing a new generation of sailors fostering national pride and solidifying The Bahamas’ reputation as a sailing destination.
The Junior Sailing Programme is one of several co-curricular activities created by the Student Development Section of the MOETVT and offered for students to participate in addition to their regular studies.
Minister Sweeting announced the initial list of schools in New Providence which comprise the first phase of the Junior Pilot Sailing Programme. They are: Uriah Mcphee Primary School, Stephen Dillet Primary School, Gerald Cash Primary School, C. W. Sawyer Primary School, L.W. Young Junior High School, A F Adderley Junior High School, T. A. Thompson Junior High School, Anatol Rodgers Junior High School, C. V. Bethel Junior High School and Government High School.
He pledged his ministry’s commitment to assisting the MOETVT with the development of infrastructure including swimming pools, construction of ‘E’ class boats through boat building programmes, and the provision of skilled constructionists to facilitate training.
“Boat building is an initiative that we really need in our schools. Currently we may have 2-3 boat builders throughout this country that build sailing sloops. It’s important that we don’t lose our heritage.”
Minister Sweeting noted that his ministry is actively pursuing acquisition of land for establishing a national sailing academy. “This institution will serve as a hub for both learning both Olympic and sloop sailing, attracting not only local enthusiasts but also international athletes. We foresee this facility becoming a key player not only in education, sports tourism, capitalizing The Bahamas’ premium year round favorable weather conditions.
“Our commitment extends beyond New Providence. We aim to expand this to the Family Islands. To enrich the experience, we plan to engage boat builders from across the Family Islands to impact their knowledge and skills, while showcasing the excellent talent and traditional craftsmanship of Bahamian sloop builders. We view this venture as an opportunity to deepen our engagement with the rich cultural tapestry of the national sport of sailing,” he said.