An exclusive post-secondary scholarship fund has been officially launched for residents of the Bain and Grants Town community. Seated from left to right during the press conference are: Assistant Superintendent of Police, Anthony Rolle; Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for the Bain and Grants Town constituency, the Honourable, Dr. Bernard Nottage; Chairman of The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution, Felix Stubbs and co-chairman of Urban Renewal, Cynthia “Mother” Pratt.
Deserving residents between the ages of 16 and 35 are eligible to secure scholarships to attend The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institution (BTVI), The College of The Bahamas (COB), Bahamas Baptist Community College, Atlantic College or any other local post-secondary accredited institution approved by the Ministry of Education. Once chosen, recipients are also expected to perform community service within the area.
“Our vision is to ensure that the door of opportunity is open to deserving residents of this community who demonstrate a willingness to learn and excel, but who cannot afford the cost of higher education,” said Assistant Superintendent of Police Anthony Rolle, who is chairman of the scholarship Board of Governors.
“Our goal is to award scholarships to individuals who excel in academic or technical studies, who possess a keen desire to become an entrepreneur and who currently or potentially have the ability to make a significant, positive impact in the Bain and Grants Town community,” he stated.
ASP Rolle hastily emphasized that the scholarship fund is apolitical.
“Even though members from the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal office are some of the key players in this initiative, this organization is non-governmental,” he stressed.
“It is a community-based effort that’s derived from meaningful relationships with corporate partners, community and religious leaders and the fine, dedicated officers of the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal office,” said ASP Rolle.
BTVI’s Chairman, Felix Stubbs, congratulated the board for what he considers to be a wonderful initiative.
“I hope it will be duplicated across communities. Once we give people the opportunity to attain higher education, we give them the opportunity to elevate themselves from their present state,” said Mr. Stubbs.
“Unfortunately, Bain and Grants Town has a reputation as a high crime area, but this will change the impression people will have of the community because when the recipients attain knowledge and skills and get jobs, it will help reduce the crime rate,” he stated.
Mr. Stubbs then went on to announce that BTVI is committed to making a financial donation to the scholarship fund.
Also announcing contributions to the fund were Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for Bain and Grants Town, the Honourable Bernard Nottage, who pledged $10,000, while Urban Renewal co-chairman Algernon Allen gave a cheque of $1,000 in the name of his parents, Harry and Jestina Allen. Both Minister Nottage and Mr. Allen are products of the Bain and Grants Town area.
Minister Nottage noted that not everyone has money to give, but there are ways of raising additional funds for the scholarship fund.
“As Bain and Grants Town people, we can do this. And to the parents here today, it isn’t about giving your children the Nike tennis and those things. It is discipline and exposure to the Word of God. Parents sometimes determine the success of their children. Parents have to take a greater interest in their children,” said Minister Nottage.
“Instead of young people using what they have to sell drugs or hold up someone in the backyard, let’s give them something that will give them the same self-worth which they seem to get when they hold a gun. These fellas who think they are bad, within them is a talent that could be developed for their good and the good of the community,” he stated.
Minister Nottage added that it is important the initiative does not become a one-time fund, but that it is built upon for many others to benefit.
BTVI’s Chairman, Felix Stubbs chats with 21-year-old Burdecia Sands, a resident of Bain and Grants Town, who is interested in studying cosmetology at BTVI.Meanwhile, two members of the board, proprietor of PGA Electrical Lumber and Building Supplies, Paul Hepburn and Operations Manager at The Sign Man, Patricia Cleare, assured residents once their programs are completed, and the opportunity presents itself, they are willing to employ individuals whose skills are applicable to their respective companies.
Mr. Hepburn is not only a product of Bain and Grants Town, but has built his business there as well.
“A lot of people told me to take my business out of Bain Town, but I am comfortable here and am endeavouring to expose the young men and women. If we give you knowledge, you will see yourself as more valuable, and once you see what you are worth, we will see change on the outside,” said Mr. Hepburn.
Co-chair of Urban Renewal, Cynthia “Mother” Pratt appealed to the residents to take advantage of the “golden opportunity” and one young woman, Burdecia Sands, is already expressing excitement about the possibility of attending BTVI. The 21-year-old wants to study cosmetology and become an entrepreneur.
“I feel it’s a good opportunity, especially because not everyone has funds to go to school. I also feel this will increase my chances of employment,” said the young woman who is currently unemployed.
Scholarship applications are to be submitted to the Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal office by the last Friday in May. Recipients will be informed by the last Friday in June and the first lot of scholarships will be awarded in July.
By Hadassah Hall
Public Relations Officer
The Bahamas Technical & Vocational Institute (BTVI)
Direct line: (242) 502-6376
Mobile: (242) 424-0624
Switchboard: (242) 502-6300
BTVI's mission: To provide learning opportunities that enable individuals to be globally competitive and economically independent.