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“The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.” Article 2: Universal Declaration on the Rights of The Child.
Remarks to Jack Hayward High 'Class of 2013' at the Passing-out and Recognition Ceremony
By Joseph Darville, Vice President, Grand Bahama Human Rights Association
Jun 19, 2013 - 11:16:29 AM
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I deem it an honor and special privilege to bring remarks on this very unique and historic occasion ….as we...
Suffer the little children to come unto us, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.”
Thus following this divine admonition, we are welcoming these young citizens of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas into the adult world this morning.
My beloved young people, your experience over the past few weeks has been nothing short of a divine set up; you have been called upon to demonstrate to the nation the abysmally low level of care and love this nation has for you our children. As we too examine our own consciences, we are also reminded of what we used to be. In other words, young and old, we are not perfect; we all do foolish things, and as long as eternity is everlasting, and seventy-seven times, remains innumerable, the good Lord continues to forgives us. So, then, who are we not to do likewise, especially in the case of children?
You, in spite of the sanctimonious and self-righteousness demeanor of should-be caring adults, even though provoked to anger and deep sadness, you have not resorted to any violence. This restraint on your part forecasts in you a new vision of hope as citizens of this nation. Young adults, you are being born today much wiser than when we older ones came into this world. Feed upon that divine wisdom, knowledge and knowingness and prove yourself worthy of the abundance of gifts bestowed upon you. We forgive you, as the father in the story of the prodigal son; you know the story: The young man finally comes to his senses, remembering his father. In humility, he recognizes his foolishness, decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy.
The father who had been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms of compassion. He is overjoyed by the return of his lost son! Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a giant feast in celebration; he pays no attention to the confession being made by the repenting son, but instead calls for a celebration of love, for it was indeed the love of the father, solidified in the soul of the young man that drew him back home.
You too have a God who loves you unconditionally; you are indeed make in the image of this bountifully loving, compassionate, divine father and consoling mother God. You are indeed back home into the unconditionally loving embrace of your heavenly and earthly families.
Although you have been caught in the net of deception, half truths, scored, salted, scorched and hung out to dry in the sun and arid wind; you had been discarded, cast out as an abomination to the land. But you are still a child of God; your spirits must not be broken and your youthful hearts will still find the gift of forgiveness unto those who found it impossible to forgive you; forgiving releases a heavy burden from your shoulders. And, as I said to you previously, SJHHS, is still and will always remain your alma mater, literally translated from the Latin: “nourishing mother”; you have not been abandoned by her, for she fostered the growth and development of your bodies, minds and spirits during these past six years. Administrators will come, and they will go, but the institution remains stable and enduring. Thus, you should be gracious and kind to the legacy of SIR JACK HAYWARD HIGH SCHOOL, and not retain any bitterness of revenge, in spite of what has occurred at the eleventh hour of your peak achievement amongst its walls.
Isn’t it hellishly ironical that in the 40th year of so-called independence, you cannot enjoy the freedom and right to publicly celebrate the glory and culmination of your twelve years of education. And just watch, you will be called upon on the 11th of next month to march on the streets of Grand Bahamas, but to celebrate WHAT?! Notice too that not even one parliamentarian, or senator, from among the many on Grand Bahama, both government or opposition, has come to your aid or assistance. But watch carefully, for in 2017, when you are at the voting age, they will come slobbering at your door begging your vote.
Even your duly attained instruments of graduation: diplomas, certificated, awards, final grades, transcripts and recommendations, are all being withheld to satisfy the whim and selfish vindictiveness of one individual, who has decided to issue them at that individual’s convenience. My Good God, what gross pomposity!! You are thus prevented from submitting necessary documents for jobs, further education, as well as deserved scholarships.
Even though neglected, abandoned, and psychologically abused in the end, a few caring individuals, including parents, have come to your assistance with loving and sound advice; they have made sure you get some symbolic recognition by presenting you to your nation and to the world. I wish to commend those few parents who braved your cause, as well as the few others who had no agenda but to give loving support, like Troy Garvey, Etienne Farquharson, Dudley Seide and yours truly. We just could not stand on the side lines and allow your reputation, your integrity to be washed down the gutter of disrepute. Gracious appreciation to those teachers too and administrators who labored to bring you to this day and who may not be free or allowed to attend this morning’s historic occasion. You are setting a precedent, when cast out, get up , stand up, for your rights, and bring on a new day for rejoicing.
A very special salute to my dear friend, Pastor Frank Hagan, who worships the one True God, and is not subjected to the dictates of any man. Thus without fear or trepidation, he has joyfully accommodated you today in this sanctuary of the Most High. This is no mere accident that this ceremony is being held in the Sanctuary of THE SCHOOL OF PROPHETIC MINISTRY.
Pastor Frank Hagan is a remarkable symbol of the Good Shepherd. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leaves the ninety-nine in the desert and goes to seek the ONE that was lost. Some 147 of you were unceremoniously cast lock, stock and barrel into the arid desert to starve in the wilderness of neglect and abandonment. Then what did we witness from those called up and commissioned to minister unto you? We saw only a multitude of Pontius Pilates washing every responsibility for you from their self-serving and self-righteous hands.
I commend the Freeport News and Mr. John Fleet as well, for prominently publishing your side of the story. It helped greatly in clarifying many issues in the eyes of the initially unforgiving public.
Rejoice, therefore, and give thanks that you the lost lambs have been found, reaffirmed and reestablished in the glorious name of your creator. You now will carry no shame, for by virtue of your own achievements and your individual affirmation this glorious morning, you have now been cleansed of any stigma attached to your name. We have not been able to uncover one single thread of verifiable evidence against one single one of your or a group of you. In a democratic society, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. Thus, we must presume each and everyone of you to be innocent, under the rule of law. Unfortunately, however, you are being unceremoniously sacrificed on the altar of political and individualistic expediency. In other words, you were being treated as pawns in a game of selfish and devilish intrigue.
But the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son is a picture of the Heavenly Father. God waits patiently, with loving compassion to restore us when we return to him with humble hearts. He offers us everything in his kingdom, restoring full relationship with joyful celebration. He doesn't even dwell on our past waywardness. Therefore, forgive yourselves, ask forgiveness of those who had to endure the consequences of unfortunate actions engineered by some of you.
And now, hold your heads up high, celebrate your achievements and move forward with firm resolution, having come through this wall of fire, tried and tested and ready to shine with the brilliance of your divine creation.
I salute you all, especially the few courageous graduates, their parents, a couple concerned citizens, who arose to the occasion, made the clarion call, arranged this ceremony of recognition, and thus affording you the occasion to enjoy this special moment in your life.
And underscoring the chorus in your theme song:
“I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me;
leave the past behind me, today my life begins,
A whole new world is waiting; it's mine for the taking;
I know I can make it, today my life begins.”
May our loving God and the entire heavenly host abundantly bless you; I love you and bless you too. Go forth and become all that you were destined to be. Know that those of us who have been caring for and advising you over the past few weeks, will remain your counsellors and allies into the future.
Vice-President, GB Human Rights Association
June 18, 2013
About the Author:
Darville is a native of Long Island, Bahamas and a resident of
Freeport, Grand Bahama. He is the founding member and past president of
the Bahamas Counselor's Association; past president of the Bahamas
Mental Health Association and the Grand Bahama Mental Health
Association; founding member and past president, and presently
Vice-President, of the Grand Bahama Humane Rights Association; founding
member and presently co-chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council; a
founding member of the Caribbean Human Rights Network; past VP of the
Caribbean Federation of Mental Health; founding member and chairman of
Operation Hope, [volunteer drug prevention, education &
rehabilitation program]; and an administrative VP of the Freeport YMCA.
Joseph is a past VP of the Bahamas Union of Teachers and taught at the
St. Augustine's College in Nassau as well as at Queens' College, where
he was also a guidance counselor; principal of Grand Bahama Catholic
High School from 1977-1997. He is an advanced master/teacher in Reiki
training, a natural energy healing method, as well as a teacher of
Transcendental Meditation. He has received many awards for outstanding
service and achievement in teaching, communication, and citizenship,
including the 25th year of independence Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Citizen’s Award. He now serves as a director of the Coalition to Save
The Bays, and presently Board Chairman for the Grand Bahama Humane
Society. Joseph is married to Melanie and they have two children, and
two grand children. Joseph can be reached at
The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her
private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of
© Copyright 2013 by thebahamasweekly.com
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