Nassau, Bahamas - United States Ambassador to The Bahamas, Her
Excellency Nicole A. Avant and Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Commander of
the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Northern
Command (USNORTHCOM) visited the Simpson Penn Center for Boys, on February 9th to
meet the 80 residents and encourage the young men to use this second
opportunity to find their purpose in life.
Admiral Winnefeld gave unscripted remarks invoking
President Obama and General Colin Powell as he reminded the boys that that even
if one makes mistakes, with support and hard work, they can succeed in life. The message of redemption was reiterated by
Ambassador Avant who acknowledged missteps in her own life and encouraged the
boys not to let their mistakes define their life. “It’s not how you start in life, but, how you
finish,” she told the young men.
At the conclusion of the event USNORTHCOM donated
$3000 worth of sporting goods to the Center, including basketballs, footballs, volleyball
nets, weight benches and table tennis tables, to encourage the young men to
pursue positive recreational activities and a healthy lifestyle. “We really believe in what the Bahamian
people are doing here at the Simpson Penn Center and we wanted to help. It’s about building sound minds, sound
characters and sound bodies,” Admiral Winnefeld told the group of young men.
Over the last calendar year, USNORTHCOM and the U.S.
Embassy - as part of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – has donated over
$20,000 in school supplies, books and sporting equipment as a way to bolster
efforts that encourage and uplift Bahamian youth. USNORTHCOM-U.S. Embassy donations over the
last year have benefited Woodcock Elementary, the Willie Mae Pratt Center for
Girls and the Ministry of Education’s national “Read To Lead” program.
Admiral Winnefeld’s visit to Simpson Penn was part
of a two day visit by a USNORTHCOM delegation to discuss ongoing bilateral
efforts to improve security in the region.
Admiral Winnefeld paid courtesy calls on the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon
Hubert Ingraham, the Minister of National Security, Hon. Tommy Turnquest; the
Commissioner of Police, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Mr. Ellison Greenslade; and
the Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Commodore Roderick Bowe. Representatives from The Bahamas government who
participated in the Simpson Penn event included Mrs. Barbara Burrows, Permanent
Secretary, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, Ms. Mellany Zonicle,
Director of Social Services and Mr. Wrensworth Butler, Superintendent of the