It was a nostalgic moment for Minister of Labour, Hon. Dion Foulkes!
On Thursday past, Minister Foulkes was on hand at the St. George’s Gymnasium to officially open the HOYTES Labour Day Invitational Basketball Classic. While speaking to students in attendance and HOYTES Organizing Committee members, headed by the venerable Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, Minister Foulkes informed that he was bringing remarks on the campus for the very first time since the official opening ceremony in 1995.
Foulkes was the Minister of Education at the time. On Thursday, he reminisced.
“I have to tell you that this is the first time that I am bringing official remarks at this school since it was opened. I was the Minister of Education then and it is really a pleasure to be back connecting with this basketball tournament that honors the labour movement in the country,” said Foulkes.
His presence was historic in that no other Minister of Labour before him had made the link between the ministry and the tournament.
McPhee was delighted.
“I have a great deal of appreciation for the minister. For 12 years, we in HOYTES have been paying tribute to labour in the country, the working people through our tournament and no minister before Minister Foulkes became associated with the event.
“We are proud to have an event that is associated with the labour movement. Several years ago, we got permission from the family of the late Sir Randol Foulkes to identify with his legacy and a souvenir booklet was produced in his honor. Hopefully going forward, especially with Minister Foulkes having started a trend, future Ministers of Labour will maintain what the present minister has established,” said McPhee, HOYTES founder and the most prolific basketball figure in the country.
Clearly, Foulkes was in his element, having on one occasion during his four terms as a Cabinet Minister, served as the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture.
The tournament brought together some 600 young competitors, basketball players from New Providence, Bimini, Grand Bahama and Abaco. It was indeed a dynamic sports/tourism affair as the youngsters engaged in three days of competition. A lot of hotel rooms were full for the May 31- June 2 period with players, parents, guardians, officials and others who flew in to give support.
Once again, the Ministry of Tourism dropped the ball. Such an important domestic sports/tourism event had no official tourism presence.
Also, there was no official representative from the Ministry of Sports. That’s sad because on display were some incredible young talents. It would have been appropriate for a sports officer to be in place to make a report on the tournament.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Labour stepped up to the plate. Despite a busy schedule around the nation, Minister Foulkes was on hand.