NASSAU, The Bahamas – The family is the bedrock of society and is to serve as an oasis for all families, spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Ann-Marie Davis, said recently. An oasis symbolizes life, love and domesticity.

Mrs. Davis was addressing the “Embracing the Family; It’s a Family Affair” Red Carpet Dinner hosted by the Urban Renewal Division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in partnership with the Urban Renewal Commission, Global 99.5FM, and churches from across communities. The event was held at the All Saints Parish Hall, East Street South.

Families from across various urban communities packed the Hall to enjoy a sumptuous meal while hearing from a cross-section of speakers on topics ranging from how to encourage young persons to stay focused; the importance of attending Sunday School; challenges facing teens, youth involvement and embracing the family. Speakers included Dr. E. Corey Rolle, Youth Pastor, Bahamas Harvest Ministries Int’l; Pastor John Ferguson, Director, Big Harvest Community Sunday School; Dr. Eric Fox, Anger Management Consultant; Reverend Dr. Ronald Campbell, Pastor, Highway Church of God, Windsor Place, and Pastor Mario Moxey, Pastor, Bahamas Harvest Church.

The event was held as a component of Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander’s Policy Vision, “which involves undergirding families as a means of nation-building and crime prevention.”

Mrs. Davis applauded the collaboration as a step in the right direction.

“The family is the bedrock of society! Many life lessons are learned or fostered by being in a good family structure,” Mrs. Davis said. “If there is no love and support in the family, there may be loneliness, depression, and one may experience hopelessness. In life, many challenges cause us to need someone to lean on, whether for social or economic reasons. The family serves as the oasis to run to when the going get rough. Today, I applaud the Urban Renewal Division for stepping in the gap and being the leaders of many of our families – as father, mother, even grandparents and role models.”

Mrs. Davis said the Urban Renewal Division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force – through their Family Support Programme (headed by Superintendent of Police Theodore Campbell) — and in collaboration with the Church and community police, reach out daily to young persons across communities: “who need direction, encouragement and leadership.”

“Most countries thrive because of strong families, which are the steel in the foundation,” Mrs. Davis said. “It is easy to conclude that people accustomed to the great experiences of the family would contribute to helping to create beautiful neighbourhoods and eventually, beautiful countries.  So we must strengthen the Family Structure.

“In many households where a father or mother figure is missing, ‘Embracing the Family’ and strengthening the family structure is essential. Giving hope and spiritual guidance to our young people has to be continued. Urban Renewal’s Police Division plays this role. Relations are an essential part of life. The family also teaches how to interact in future relationships, whether at school or in adult life. Urban Renewal does that. So we can say that Urban Renewal is the mother, father, counsellor, grandparents, big brother, big sister and friend. They reach out to our nation’s youth maintaining positive engagement and fostering meaningful relationships with community youth.”

While applauding the work of numerous government and non-government groups to strengthen families in-country as essential, Mrs. Davis said the best model for a family is in having mother and father “working in harmony to provide their child/children with the tools to shape their character and preparing them for the world ahead.”

“Friends, concepts of a family are diverse. However, a family in our society, consists of a mother or a mother figure, a father or father figure, and even grandparents. Anyhow you cut it, the family model is to have both mother and father working in harmony toward the molding of the children, giving them the tools to shape their character and preparing them for the world ahead.”

Mrs. Davis said in cases where that is not happening: “the family could be the community – this concept goes back to the saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child’”.

“Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we don’t need a real mother and father raising their children, supplying their needs, disciplining them when necessary, ensuring they do their chores and homework etcetera. We need to see families being built, because we all know the value of when we can all get together with family, be it on vacation, holidays, or just plain old weekend visits.

“Family reunions are priceless, but when spirits are down, a visit to the homestead could remedy the problem. It’s a safe place. It’s a familiar place. So we welcome the traditional family.

“The stark reality is that a healthy family has nothing to do with finances but more about principle, respect, love, and honor. Families boost our confidence and make us feel loved. They are the pillars of our strength who never fall, instead keep us strong so we become better people. We learn the values of love, respect, faith, hope, caring, cultures, ethics, traditions, and everything else that concerns us through our families.

“Tonight, ‘It’s A Family Affair Here’ with all of us. Let us continue to build the family unit. You can do it. Parents, I say to you tonight, enhance your family life and save the children, especially our boys. Start with your children, training them in the right way from when they are very young. Our children must be saved, now.” 

(BIS Photos/Anthon Thompson)


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