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Lea Percentie: Celebrate Our Community Heroes Now
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Page 1 of 1Total of 4 messages
Posted by:May 28th 2009, 06:11:23 pm
ash12the list goes on and on!
Posted by:May 24th 2009, 06:55:05 am
Richard PPearl Lewis
Warren Grant
Eleanor Johnson
Princess Deveaux
Brenda Barry
Bruce Saunders
Marguerite Pennerman

get this party started, ASH!

Posted by:May 24th 2009, 12:41:57 am
ash12i,ll say honor the people while they,re living
Posted by:May 19th 2009, 08:47:30 am
Fig Tree News TeamDrybread, a Bahamian patriot

May 2009

Over the years, one of the things that I have always tried to do is to pay tribute or show appreciation to persons in The Bahamas who have unselfishly given of themselves to make The Bahamas a better place. Far too often, the significant contributions of these silent heroes are not acknowledged or appreciated.

Many of them are not given their roses while they are alive and some even go to the grave heartbroken and a pauper. At their funerals, there are no big parades or high profile speeches that appear in the press or on the evening news headlines. Indeed, there is no "pomp and pageantry" or official recognition by the government, not even posthumously, for their sacrifices.

Such recognition ironically appears to be reserved for the less deserving (such as politicians). These unsung heroes come from all walks of life and from all over The Bahamas. One thing for sure is the fact that The Bahamas is a much better place because of their patriotic dedication.

Persons whose lives Bahamians should emulate because they were the perfect role models included persons such as Vera Symonette- Hanna of Spring Point, Ack-lins. For 23 years she made the 20-mile round trip between Spring Point and Mason's Bay by foot and never missed a day of work or was she ever late. Many of her former students include who-is-who in The Bahamas, including Viola Bain, the mother of Sir Lynden Pindling, the "Father of the Nation." In 1995, Mrs. Hanna became the first recipient of the Bahamas Order of Merit for Education.

Another Bahamian hero that I have mentioned and who you would not find anything in the history books about was Sidney Albury of Harbour Island. Sidney Albury was a World War II veteran who returned to the Bahamas after the war with a mission. After becoming a local constable, a position that he took on for several decades, in 1955 he became the first captain of the Bahamas 10th Company of the Boys Brigade, an organization that has taught thousands of Harbour Island young men discipline and team work.

Virtually anyone can go on about and come up with a number of deserving Bahamian heroes who time has forgotten and an ungrateful Bahamas has failed to give them their roses while they were alive! The common motive characteristic of these patriots was simply to serve their fellow countrymen without any thought of reward. In The Bahamas, anyone could be a hero. Whether you are a taxi driver, mailboat captain, lighthouse keeper, charity worker, etc, you could make the difference in the lives of many!

One deserving person who met all the requirements to entitle him to be referred to as a "Bahamian Hero" recently passed away. This is Cyril "Drybread" Ferguson, a musician and entertainer. This is an individual that I have known for 30 years, even prior to my arrival in Freeport some 26 years ago.

My family being the proprietors of the "Vic-Hum" Club, the Bahamas' oldest nightclub in Harbour Island, I had numerous opportunities to meet most of the icons in music and entertainment in The Bahamas. Drybread stood out from day one as he was so much like my father, the late Humphrey Percentie Sr., with his Gibson box guitar.

Over the years, Drybread was a frequent visitor to Harbour Island. My mother reminded me that Drybread did most of his song writing in room #3 at Percentie's Tingum Village, where he came to write and meditate in the tranquil beauty of Harbour Island. Drybread also became acquainted and performed with my youngest brother, Ryland "Spy" Per-centie (now deceased), who ironically was taught the guitar by me!

However, it wasn't until I moved to Grand Bahama in the 1980s that I saw the other side of Drybread's personality. When it came to promoting Bahamian music or putting Bahamians first, he was a man on a mission. After Wendel Stewart departed Freeport, Drybread became the almost self-appointed spokesperson on Grand Bahama for musicians and entertainers.

Alarmed by the decline of jobs for Bahamian musicians, Drybread took an uncompromising approach to his demand that more be done for Bahamian musicians. It was not uncommon to see Drybread on a street corner or one of the circles in Freeport handing out his flyers demanding that the government of The Bahamas do more for Bahamian musicians, including more air time on the national voice of The Bahamas, Radio Bahamas. There was just too much foreign music that was being promoted by our very own Bahamians at the expense of the Bahamian artists.

Drybread, in his relentless campaign to promote Bahamian music, tried to influence the youth. For the first time in history in The Bahamas, Bahamian music was taught as a subject with Drybread as a teacher in schools throughout the eastern end of Grand Bahama.

By focusing on the youth, Drybread wanted to ensure that Bahamian music at least had some sort of a future. In fact, my favourite Drybread song is called "Bahamian Music." Some of the inspiring words are "Bahamian music in my soul ... Bahamian music really turns me on!" This song reflects his strong emotional attachment to the significance of Bahamian music.

In the Bahamian cultural world of Junkanoo, this song is one of the unofficial National Anthems that leads off the Junkanoo Parade both locally and when the Junka-noo groups travel abroad. Therefore, it is with a sense of deep gratitude and pride that any Bahamian should appreciate the works of Drybread a true Bahamian Patriot and national hero!

Dr. Leatendore Percentie is a Freeport-based dentist and human rights activists.

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