Dedication Ceremony For PM’s New Office
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham praised the late Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield during the dedication ceremony of the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre, Friday, January 27, for being among the “generation of great men and women who led the struggle for Majority Rule and equality in The Bahamas.”
“When Sir Cecil came to believe that some of the ideals of that struggle were not being honoured, he was at the forefront of the formation of a new political party,” the Prime Minister said.
“This singular event ensured a viable two-party system. It was vital in securing and deepening democracy in The Bahamas. Fittingly, even as we dedicate this Centre to the memory and legacy of Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, we also pay tribute to all of those who championed freedom and democracy in The Bahamas; often at great sacrifice,” Prime Minister Ingraham added.
Lady Naomi Wallace-Whitfield; Sir Cecil’s family and friends; the Deputy to the Governor General the Hon. Frank S. Watson; Cabinet Ministers; other senior government officials and dignitaries attended the dedication.
The Prime Minister explained that the relocation of the original Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre, which serves as the Office of the Prime Minister, to the new site was required to make way for the construction of the new Baha Mar Resort.
The Government sold the original Cecil Wallace-Whitfield building and site to Baha Mar Resorts for some $17.686 million and acquired the new premises from S G Hambros for some $13 million, Prime Minister Ingraham said.
“The refurbishment and upgrade of these premises were undertaken in record time by an energetic team of Bahamian companies coordinated by the capable leadership of Pineapple House.”
The Prime Minister noted that more extensive work has begun on the grounds to create a Bahamian garden featuring native flora and hardwood trees. “It is our plan, to make these nine acres a mini-Bahamian botanical garden.”
Prime Minister Ingraham said Sir Cecil would be pleased that 45 years after he helped to bring about Majority Rule, and approximately 40 years after he helped to form the Free National Movement, the country he loved and the party to which he devoted his considerable energies, continue to flourish.
“Many Bahamians recall the pivotal role Cecil Wallace-Whitfield played in safeguarding Bahamian democracy. Perhaps fewer may recall his contributions in the first majority-rule government. Though he only served briefly as a cabinet minister, the work he did was far-reaching,” the Prime Minister said.
“As Minister of Works, Cecil Wallace-Whitfield understood the need to bring critical infrastructure to the majority of Bahamians. His ambitious efforts to put streetlights in Over-the-Hill neighbourhoods, build new schools and roadways in the Family Islands and here in New Providence improved the lives of many thousands of Bahamians.
“He understood the fundamentals necessary for educational advancement and student achievement. As Minister of Education, he spearheaded the establishment of a teacher’s college in San Salvador. He understood the need for more Bahamian teachers, as well as the critical role of capable teachers in learning and overall national development,” Prime Minister Ingraham said.
Archdeacon Father Keith Cartwright performed the blessing/dedication of the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre.
The Prime Minister participated in planting a Bahamian Lignum Vitae tree located adjacent to the area where two native trees were planted by Sir Lynden Pindling and Dame Margaret Thatcher in 1985.
Dame Margaret, Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time, was in Nassau to participate in the 1985 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. The tree planting then was in honour of the 50th Anniversary of Roy West in The Bahamas; Roy West being the occupant of the premises at that time.
Lady Naomi and Mrs Delores Ingraham, wife of the Prime Minister cut the ribbon to the doors of the Centre.
By Llonella Gilbert
Bahamas Information Services