THE NATIONAL YOUTH AWARDS
Launched in the 1980s, The Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, each year, during its National Youth Month Celebrations, undertake to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding youth from New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands with a National Youth Award. These young persons are nominated by members of their community. Nominee applications are then submitted to a committee of noted persons who; independent of the Division of Youth of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, would make the selections.
Youth Award categories have developed over the years. Previously, the award was titled “PACESETTER AWARDS”. In the Pacesetter category, there were six (6) main areas of recognition including Education, Sports, Creative Arts, Religion, Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship. Additionally, awards of recognition were presented to Youth Leaders (The Governor-General’s Award) and Youth Organizations. The Minister’s Cup was presented to an overall outstanding young person, who was selected from among the Most Outstanding Youth Award Recipient for each Island.
Today, the National Youth Awards Programme has expanded to include eight (8) “DIAMOND AWARDS”, The Youth Ally and Youth Organization Awards; The Director of Youth, Minister of Youth and Prime Minister’s Cups.
In 2014, Her Excellency, Dame Marguerite Pindling, GCMG, Governor-General of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas commissioned the National Youth Award Nominee Honours Medal to be presented to all Youth Award Nominees. The first 187 of this special recognition medal were presented by Her Excellency, The Governor-General at a Ceremony at Government House, on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. Family Island nominees not able to attend this ceremony, were presented with their medals by their respective Family Island Administrators or at special Youth Recognition Ceremonies coordinated by Island Activities Coordinators on their Island.
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture also partners with National and International Organizations to award outstanding youth each year. For example, in 2014, a partnership with the Bahamas Olympic Committee was forged to ensure adequate recognition of Youth in Sports.
The selection of outstanding youth award recepients are made by a committee of persons appointed by the Honourable Minister; all of whom are independent of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. This year's Committee is chaired by Mrs. I. Elma Garraway, Retired Permanent Secretary and former Chief Commissioner of the Bahamas Girl Guides Association. Her colleague committee members include:
His Excellency, A. Leonard Archer, Retired High Commissioner to CARICOM,
Mr. Andretti Bain, Olympian and Entrepreneur,
Mrs. Cora Colebrooke, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Housing,
Mr. Anthony Moss, Chief Family Island Administrator, Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government
Mrs. Arinthia Komolafe, Managing Director, Bahamas Development Bank and,
Attorney Ashley Sturrup, LLB (HONS), Attorney-At-Law and Former National Youth Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).