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Bahamas 2013: A Year in Review with Vandia Sands
Jan 17, 2014 - 9:11:37 AM

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Miss Earth Bahamas, Vandia Sands says, "I have faith that the new year can bring about change, once we plant in our minds "Together We Can." As long as we put action to our words, and not put blame or point fingers at anyone!"

has once again selected Bahamians to canvas their opinions on highlights of The Bahamas over the year 2013, as well as ask about the direction of the country. Their comments will be shared over the coming weeks.

Through this exchange we hope to also highlight Bahamians in our community, and share their personal triumphs, that may or may not have made the news.

Here is the opinion of
Vandia Sands, Miss Earth Bahamas:

1) What event do you feel was the most important for the Bahamas in 2013?

One event that was important to the Bahamas in 2013 was the celebration of the Women's Suffrage Movement during our 40th Anniversary. Women from across the political divide were recognized and honored for fighting for the rights of women to vote. This period was significant to me because it sparked the discussion on the elimination of all discrimination against women.

2) Who passed away this year that you feel will be 'most missed' and why?

P. Anthony White! Mr. White was a prolific writer who assisted in prepping me for my first local pageant. His death was such a shock, because although my first encounter with him was early summer, it was only a few months later that I found out while competing at an international pageant, that he had passed away. He will be missed by the Bahamian community, not only because he was one of the greatest literary geniuses, but also because he was such a jovial person. He agreed to help me with no hesitation, and I appreciated that about him.

3) Who was the most inspirational/influential Bahamian in 2013 and why?

My brother Leevan 'Superman' Sands! He is such a phenomenal patriot and an astounding brother, father, husband and son. Leevan is an Olympic athlete who fell short to injury during the 2012 London Olympics. This was devastating to his family and many thought that that incident was detrimental to his career, but he persevered through rehab and therapy and now he's stronger than ever and ready to get back to business! I've watched him during this hiatus and he did not complain, he remained the humble individual that he has always been, and worked tirelessly around the clock. His tenacious grip on his dream and purpose motivated and empowered me to live in my purpose, and propelled me to be patriotic to our country.

4) 2013 was the country's 40th anniversary of Independence. What stood out for you in a way of commemorating the event?

I did not attend the 40th Anniversary celebration at Clifford Park, but I had the opportunity to attend the Royal Bahamas Police Force Independence breakfast. This event stood out to me because the breakfast was held in honour of several pivotal men who are former officers that participated in the original 1973 Independence Parade. These men include, Mr Edmund Lewis who escorted Prince Charles from Government House to Clifford park, Irvin Taylor who hoisted the Bahamian flag, and Keith Mason (former Deputy Commissioner) who was the commander of the entire parade. I felt honoured to be in the presence of people that unselfishly took part in such an historical event. This wonderful celebration was organized by Mr. Ellison Greenslade and it taught me to honour people while they are alive, and not wait until they are deceased to show appreciation for the their hard work, and dedication to our country.

5) 2013 may have been one of the worst years ever for crime in The Bahamas. What are your thoughts and suggestions?

Although crime were down in some areas, the murder rate was at an all time high, being the highest it has ever been in history. Crime is multifaceted and in order to eradicate this issue we have to tackle the root of the problem! Crime is a social issue, and change first begins within ourselves, then in our homes, then in our community. We cannot solely depend on the government or our law enforcement departments alone, because that is almost impossible for one organization to destroy utterly, but it is for the entire community to join forces with such entities. I have faith that the new year can bring about change, once we plant in our minds "Together We Can." As long as we put action to our words, and not put blame or point fingers at anyone! It is time for us to take responsibility and strive to be proactive in the new year.

6) Is there any 'unsung hero' you feel should be recognized from 2013 or prior? If so, who and why?

Absolutely! I believe that our law enforcement agencies (Royal Bahamas Police Force, Defense Force, Customs, Immigration and Prison) are unsung heroes who are underrated, and whose work are oftentimes unnoticed and unappreciated! They all work extremely hard and tirelessly to protect us and our borders.

7) Do you have a personal highlight for 2013?

My personal highlight for 2013 was traveling to Manila, Philippines to compete in one of the world's largest international pageants that housed 90 contestants from around the world. I went there with a genuine spirit to make an impact by participating in numerous charity events held for the mass typhoon victims and also to promote ecotourism. On top of being engulfed in the service projects, I made history for The Bahamas in being the first Beauty Queen to win gold for having the Best National Costume at one of the largest international pageants! This was by far a great way to end a year and I am thankful to God for blessing me with that opportunity.

Born in Nassau, Vandia D. Sands, is Miss Earth Bahamas 2013-2014, of  Bahamas Beauty Organization, a organization that promotes Beauty with a Cause, based in the Bahamas which groom female toddlers-adults to have elegance and eloquence. She can be reached at:

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