Growing up in a Seventh-day Adventist home, there was never a thought in my mind that I would become an elected official in national politics. However, my whole life has been about training for service. My parents, both educators by profession, are committed Adventists who instilled in my brother and me the need for service. My father, an ordained Adventist minister in The Bahamas, dedicated his entire professional life to the church. It was his commitment that practically indoctrinated our family to the idea that we have a higher calling in this life.
I attended Adventist schools from the age of 5 until I completed my undergraduate degree in engineering at Walla Walla University. After completing my degree, I accepted the invitation to lecture at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica. I spent one semester there and then accepted an offer to teach high school level math in the public school system in The Bahamas. Within six months of that opportunity, I moved into the private sector and worked for a multinational oil company. It was during that time that my thoughts and ideas were coming together. I made the decision to get involved in active politics and the Progressive Liberal Party in The Bahamas. As an engineer, I was trained to find solutions to problems. So instead of just criticizing the administration at the time, I figured I should offer myself as an opposing candidate with solutions. In 2000, the leader of the Progressive Liberal Party and current prime minister, The Right Honorable Perry G. Christie, formally announced my candidacy.
With no formal training in the political arena and being a real naive rookie in the fray of national politics, I led my charge and campaign in the Progressive Liberal Party, which is now the governing political party in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. National elections were held May 2, 2002, and I was successful in becoming the Member of Parliament for the Carmichael Constituency in New Providence, Bahamas. The Prime Minister of The Bahamas also appointed me Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Works and Utilities.
Getting involved in frontline national politics was a challenge, given my family background and Adventist roots. Some in the Adventist church shy away from partisan politics. My family, who are extremely conservative, have never been involved in anything of a political nature. I am more confident than ever that it was not by accident that I became involved, and that there was a purpose that was to be fulfilled as a result of entering public life.
Four years later, I am now the Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and working in my reelection campaign for the upcoming general election, as each term of office is five years. I also released my first book in June 2006 titled “Political Discourses.”
Commitment to service is what I remember being taught in our schools. The indelible impression left on me from my days at Walla Walla University was more than just receiving an academic education, but helping to facilitate a holistic preparation for life. I am grateful for the many positive experiences in the Adventist education system that helped to make me a focused individual. There is so much more that we can do if we are committed and remain consistent in our efforts to make a difference.
There has been a tendency by many persons to regard politics as a vicious and dirty aspect of a necessary evil. I believe that when good people sit idly by and allow status quo to continue—while change is begging to be created—they are just as guilty as the misguided controllers of adverse decision making. We have an obligation to make a difference and that difference is encapsulated in one’s commitment to excellence.
As I reflect on my life and the many bountiful blessings, I am mindful that there are many who have not been so privileged. Helping make life better for them is one of the reasons I am in politics.
The Bahamas is a country comprised of 700 islands off the coast of Florida. Our population of just over 303,000 inhabits 30 islands. We are a democratic and peaceful archipelagic nation known primarily for our warm people, sun, sand, and sea. It is the natural beauty of the islands that make it an attractive spot for millions of tourists who are primarily from North America.
As I continue to serve in the Ministry of Tourism and work in government towards the overall development of my country, I am confident that I am truly fulfilling my purpose in contributing to what my Prime Minister terms, “becoming the best little country on this earth.”