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Brave Davis speaks to Urban Renewal Mental Health Seminar for Young Men
Jan 30, 2015 - 2:43:32 PM

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Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Remarks by Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis, Q.C., M.P.Deputy Prime Minister Minister of Public Works & Urban Development On the Occasion of Urban Renewal Mental Health Seminar for Young Men  at Pine Ridge Urban Renewal Centre on Friday, 30th January 2015:

I am always very pleased to accept invitations to participate in Grand Bahama events. First, it brings me to a place that played a large role in my evolution as an attorney and a responsible adult; and secondly, it is a place where I know that I will encounter the strongest and most resilient people in The Bahamas. Today, I am not disappointed. It is even better when I gather with young people.

Most recently, our Prime Minister announced the intention of The Bahamas to “put four-square and centre for our deliberations, a major effort and initiative to further enhance and develop our human capital [by paying] increased attention … to the needs of our young people”.In this regard, we thank the team at the Pine Ridge Urban Renewal Centre for its key role in providing for the socioeconomic development of the residents within the community.

I have been advised that the staff of Urban Renewal has a particular concern for Pine Ridge.They have made certain observations – young men skipping school, just hanging around, and waiting to purchase another “fix”. In other words, our young men, those we depend on to be the foundation of good families, are headed down the wrong road.That is cause for grave concern.

Recently, the Department of Statistics released the results of its Labour Force Survey.While the Government is working very hard to enhance its job creation initiatives, we are aware that the economy is yet recovering from the worst recession of our lifetimes.Grand Bahama has not been spared.Men outnumbered women in the employed and unemployed labour force; and though, for Grand Bahama, there was a decrease in the number of discouraged workers (55%), this is no cause for us to relax.

In fact, we are resolutely moving ahead to bring relief to those most in need; and the numbers tell us that you, the young, are those most in need.

Last year, I had the good fortune to speak to a group of Grand Bahamians that are just a bit older than you.They were all professional engineers.I challenged them as I challenge you now.Hard times come with opportunities.I challenge you to allow hard times to inspire you and drive you seek new and innovative ways to use the diverse gifts and talents that God has given to each of you.Do not waste them.

Those successful engineers were once just like you – young and uncertain about their future.They were not sure how to look at the world and fearful about what the world had to offer them.In the same way that those engineers felt what you feel, so did I.I came from very humble beginnings.Back then, I never even dreamed that I would be the man that I am today.Hard work and opportunities helped me along the way.Most importantly, though, it was my willingness to embrace change that saw me through life’s twists and turns.

Today, I invite you to begin to look at the world and yourselves differently.Our country very survival depends you.That is a difficult thought – to have so much responsibility rest with you.However, it is an essential part of becoming a man – a leader – a nation-builder.
I am no therapist, but I do have life experiences that have been good teachers.This is the basis upon which I share with you today.If we are honest, each of us has something that we want to change about us.Think about what you really want to change.Maybe you already know it.It could be something in your social life, your family situation, or your living conditions. Take time to focus on these things because if you really want change, if you really want something, it becomes so much easier to keep motivated.

I encourage you to write these things down so that they stay with you.

Then, I encourage you to choose one thing or a habit to focus on for now – just one!You may have several things or several bad habits, but start simple – just one – so that you have a better chance of succeeding.Changing three things at once requires lots of time and energy.An example for me is choosing to walk for health at least five times a week.Walking is not the only thing that I would need to do, but it is a step in the right direction.

Taking small steps is very important.One step at a time, one day at a time gets you by the feeling that something is too big or too difficult.That feeling is one of the most common things to hold people back from taking action at all.Take for instance, if you want to be a lawyer, you have to first finish school.To finish school, you have to study.If you take the time to study, it makes better sense to go to school every day and finish.

Sometimes, the plan in your head or on paper is harder to execute when you act or when you may not move as fast as you thought.I encounter this every day of my life.But taking one day at a time has been immensely helpful.Young people call that living to live another day.

In living to live another day, though, I admonish you to keep Ecclesiastes 11:4 before you.This bit of scripture is a warning against procrastination.That you may not have the complete picture is no excuse for inactivity. Solomon presses us to get moving because the good things God has to offer will not come to those who waiver.Do not procrastinate – just do it!

It is very easy to get stuck in planning –planning the plan.Sometimes, you do not have time to plan, because that too is time wasted.Get moving and keep the ball rolling!Procrastination – putting things off for tomorrow – is the biggest thief of time.Today is your only promise.Start now!Do what you need to do to rise above your challenges by just taking one small and practical step towards what you want today.

Each of us has a part to play in our development as a people and nation – no matter how young or how old.We are not a rich country, but we certainly are not poor. We do not have all we want; neither do we have all we need; but we do have more than most people have and for that we should be grateful.

Sir Lynden Pindling, the Father of our Nation once said: “Everywhere people are struggling for the very things many of us take for granted. We have peace, stability, freedom of speech and religion and the right to go where we please whenever we please. The poor are still with us, and, like death and taxes, they will always be but, thank God, poverty does not stalk our land and everyone has access to basic health care and education. Millions of our neighbours, however, can only dream of living as we do. Yet, how many of us give thanks to God for the blessings he has bestowed upon us?

“We have known hard times in The Bahamas too but most of you are too young to remember them, too young to know what your grandparents had to do to survive.You can’t imagine the sacrifice they made to bring you to where you sit today.You are too young to know that, back then, the only place they […] could [go] to take refuge from the daily battering their spirit and their pride took from racial and economic oppression was the church.It may be difficult for you to understand that the only peace many of them ever knew in those days was that moment when they fell to their knees and asked God to guide them.”

Those words from Sir Lynden are very relevant even today.We are counting on you to become successful individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to our communities.You will play a leading role in building the more successful Bahamas we all want for the future.As a Government, we commit to supporting you through the challenges of adolescence and the transition into adulthood.Because of you, The Bahamas will be smarter, healthier, wealthier, fairer, safer, and stronger.

So, you people, we look to you.Let us vow today to make a change.Michael Jackson’s song rings in my spirit.He says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.I’m asking him to change his ways and; no message could have been any clearer; if you [want to] make the world a better place take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”

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