The New Millenium opened as a triumphant period for The Bahamas with the beloved Golden Girls gracing the country with world glory through a phenomenal win of four silver medals and a gold medal in meter relay events at the Olympics in Sydney. The champion athletes are no strangers to the winners' circle, having previously brought in a first-place win at the l999 Pan Am games in Seville, France. The five luminaries, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Eldece Clark-Lewis, Debbie Ferguson, Sevatheda Fynes, and Chandra Sturrup were honored in their country with sizable beachfront land grants, $40,000 each, and commemorative gold medals.
As you enter Nassau International Airport, you will see pictures of the Golden Girls, standing proud, beauty-full and strong, projecting the aura of the national heroines they have become. Because of their perseverance, discipline, and excellence in their field, these Bahamian women historymakers have proven to be role models to Bahamian youth--in fact, to global youth. In whatever they do in the future, may the Golden Girls continue to aspire to excellence and inspire to excellence.
With Bahamian women having just gotten the vote in the l960's, they have made tremendous strides in being a viable foundation for their country both from the political backstage and upfront as governmental leaders and agency heads. We wish to salute the contributions of the enterprising and love-oriented Bahamian woman politicians of the country's varied political parties, especially those who assisted in their formations and growth even before they were able to take an active public role.
Today the PLP government which is at the political helm in the Bahamas under the Prime Minister, the Hon. Perry G. Christie has four major agency heads who are women. They are: The Hon. Melanie Griffin, Minister of Social Services and Community Development; The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Transport and Aviation; The Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services & Investment; and The Hon. Cynthia A. Pratt, Minister of National Security. We celebrate the Spirits of these four brilliant women who have made the arduous climb to the mountaintop of political leadership in their country and who have earned the support and respect of the constituencies they represent. One can read about each of them and the responsibilities they hold at The Bahamas Web Page: http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bahamasweb/home.nsf I have read with pride of the sensitivity and dedication of Ms. Griffin in advocating for the needs of the children and battered women, of Ms. Maynard-Gibson in seeking growth opportunities in the financial sector and of Ms. Ms. Hanna-Martin in dealing with the complex demands and challenges of the country's aviation and transportation industry. They all seem to be ardently working to fulfill to the highest their leadership responsibilities.
Because of my spiritual orientation, however, I am inspired to pay special honor to one of these great ladies in particular--the Hon. Cynthia Pratt. Because of her continuing effort to unabashedly interweave humanitarian love and spirituality with politics in thought, word, and action and to model it in how she has lived her life over the years, she is affectionately known throughout The Bahamas, as "Mother Pratt." In the African-American South when a woman is called by the title "Mother" by her community or those of her faith, she has well earned it by being a hallmark of love and service for decades, the type of selfless love and service exhibited by the Biblical women leaders and followers.
When my friends and colleagues in the Bahamas have spoken to me of Mother Pratt, they have constantly termed her a "woman of God". If they can hold firm to their faith, humility, love and fortitude through both trials and triumphs, leaders of Mother Pratt's type can help greatly to bring peace and prosperity not only to those they serve but can also be valuable role models for governmental leaders across the globe.
A former athlete, teacher, and Director of Student Activities at The College of The Bahamas, this warm-hearted mother of six is the first Bahamian woman to head an agency previously run by males. As can be expected, despite the love and respect she has earned, she has still been soundly challenged by those who feel a woman has no place in such a position. However, through reading the online version of the Bahamian newspapers, I see that she continues to firmly and courageously speak her mind and her heart and to stand up, as promised, for those she pledged to serve.
I've read of her speaking out for the youth and for prison reform that would definitely promote healing and reform rather than hardened criminality and recidivism. And I perceive that she does not so much what would be considered merely popular or profitable but what would be considered just and loving in the eyes of the Creator. Viewing the pervasive political corruption, greed, and callous disregard of humanitarian principles of many world regimes, Mother Pratt and colleagues of like mind and action are the type of politician for which the world is starving. May these type of human gems be continually recognized, supported, rewarded, and yes, fervently prayed for while they are still positively sparkling and shining in our midst.