Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis received awards for outstanding leadership in politics during the Bahamas Diaspora Association 2nd Annual Awards Gala in Miami Florida on Saturday, July 22, 2023. US Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, US House of Representatives, presented PM Davis with the award, noting that his efforts to promote Small Island Developing States, his work to reposition The Bahamas as a global leader in digital assets, and his decision to invite a record number of women to join his Cabinet are amongst the reasons he is deserving of the award. Congressswoman Wilson, who is a Bahamian descendant, noted that Bahamians’ contribution to the development of cities throughout South Florida cannot be overlooked.
The establishment of “Little Bahamas” in Coconut Grove, Florida, solidifies this and ensures that Bahamians will be honored for their pioneering role for generations to come. Founder and President of the Bahamas Diaspora Association Dr. Andy Ingraham said the Second Annual Awards Gala serves to solidify the significance of the Bahamas Diaspora Association as a formidable entity, bringing Bahamians throughout the Diaspora together. By networking and celebrating one another, he added, Bahamian Diasporans and their friends have an opportunity to shape their future success and that of The Bahamas in ways that would bring about lasting change. The Bahamas Diaspora Association, in conjunction with the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOOD), the National Association of The Bahamas, and the Curtis Foundation, hosted the event at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. The Bahamas Diaspora Association event celebrated The Bahamas 50th Independence anniversary and was held under the theme: “Working together to empower the Diaspora while committed to Nation Building”.
Seven other awardees were celebrated at the event, including: Dr William Pickard – Diaspora Education; Rob Ceravolo, – The Bahamas Diaspora Relief Award; Yolanda Cash-Jackson – The Garth Basil Coleridge Reeves Sr. Philanthropic Award; HT Smith – The M. Athalie Range -Community Service Award; Leona Cooper-Baker – The Dr Enid C Pinkney Historic Preservation Award; Dewey Knight III – the EWF Stirrup Sr Entrepreneurship & Community Development Award; and Will and Heather Packer – the Diaspora Philanthropic Award.Dr. William Pickard is a highly successful entrepreneur with a long track record of business acumen. He has invested in numerous industries and has become a leader in Detroit, empowering the African American community for decades. He has extended his goodwill to The Bahamas, supporting young Bahamians in their educational aspirations in the state of Michigan, where he was once named “Michiganian of the Year”.Rob Cerevalo is the founder of Tropic Ocean Airways, a commuter seaplane airline headquartered in Florida, servicing Florida, The Bahamas and the Northeast USA. Tropic Ocean Airways’ dedication was exemplified in the dire aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, when the team worked tirelessly for 18 consecutive days, providing relief efforts and support to those affected.Yolanda Cash-Jackson, Esq. is among the power elite when it comes to lawyer lobbyists in Florida.
This agent of change with Bahamian roots has an extensive list of accolades, including being recognised by the Miami Herald as one of only 50 statewide influencers for 2019 election coverage, and the Daily Business Review named her a “Most Effective Lawyer” in 2019.H.T. Smith is Miami-Dade County’s first African American assistant Public Defender and the first African American assistant County Attorney. This Bahamian descendant was voted the Top Trial Lawyer in 2017 by the Dade County Bar Association, and the National Law Journal recognized him as one of America’s Top Ten Trial Lawyers of the Year. He has been inducted into the “Legal Legends” of Miami-Dade County, and he is listed in the Best Lawyers of America, Florida Super Lawyers, and Law and Leading American Attorneys.Leona Cooper-Baker has been gathering and recording historical biographies of the pioneering black women settlers of Coconut Grove, Miami, as well as Coral Gables, Florida. Her efforts have resulted in the only oral record available, along with valuable photographs of these women in their dwellings. This Eleuthera descendant’s work has resulted in the implementation of exhibits, working with the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, which reflect the history of Coconut Grove.Dewey Knight II is a descendant of the well-regarded Brown family, some of Miami’s first generation Bahamian settlers.
He is a fifth-generation Miami resident with a rich legacy of community builders. He continued the legacy of uplifting the people of Miami, including pouring into underserved youth. Knight went on to form a franchise with four other partners – WorldWide Concessions, which has grown to serve counties outside of Miami, providing jobs and training to hundreds of people.Will and Heather Packer are often referred to as one of the most influential power couples in the entertainment industry. They have given generously to provide food, clothing, housing, and scholarship assistance to individuals across America as well as The Bahamas, their adopted country. They have supported many Bahamians as well as community causes in the country, including the 2022 Exuma Island New Year’s Celebrations, the Exuma Community Softball and Parks Association, and the 2023 Bahamas Independence Celebrations in Exuma.Dr. Ingraham is also the founder, president and CEO of NABHOOD, and is descended from the island of Eleuthera.
He is a formidable Bahamian American with a distinguished track record of success in the hospitality and media industries. The Bahamas Diaspora Awards Gala was held on the heels of NABHOOD’s 27th annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show (July 19-21, 2023). That event coincided with the 10th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show (July 21-23), headed by Andy’s daughter, PJ Douglas Sands. All three events served to promote not only the interests of black Americans and other ethnic groups, but were also vital for Caribbean interests, and many were represented at the conferences.
Source: Felicity Darville
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