The Ministry of Tourism hosted commencement ceremonies for two new crops of Bahamahost graduates during December 2019, at Wesley Methodist Church in Lower Bogue, and at the Ebenezer Gospel Chapel in Tarpum Bay, under the theme, “Reimagine, Reignite, Recommit.”

Executive Director – Product Quality & Support in the Ministry of Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Romer, was keynote speaker for the proud occasions.  He exhorted the newly certified service professionals to be standout beacons within the Bahamas’ vital tourism industry.  Deborah Young-Fox, Trainer for the Bahama Host program on Eleuthera, commented that she was very proud of the diverse group of graduates, adding that the friendships formed through the sessions would persist beyond commencement.

The two groups of graduates recognized, dubbed Sessions 023 and 024, included:

Session 023 graduates.
Bahamahost graduates of Session 023 in Lower Bogue, North Eleuthera at their commencement ceremony with Ministry of Tourism Officials.

(023 – North Eleuthera)
Aldred Albury, Edward Carey, Ednol Cash, Ezra Cash, Lyman Cash, Gayle Colebrook, Raymond Colebrook, Larry Dean, Daniel Ferguson, Amos Johnson, Dominique Johnson, Doney Kelly, Jason Kelly, Kendron Lightbourn, Fredrick Neely, Sonega Neely, Vernon Neilly, Wilton Neilly, Denise Newbold, Natalie Newbold, Calvin Pinder, Gurney Pinder, Sheldon Pinder, Derick Rahming, Darrin Sands, Grawill Sands, Latoya Saunders, Dinero Sweeting, Elliott Seymour, Henry Stuart, Royal Williams, Livingstone Wilson, and Gary Young.

Bahamahost graduates of Session 024 in Tarpum Bay, South Eleuthera at their ceremony, with Ministry of Tourism and Education Officials.
Bahamahost graduates of Session 024 in Tarpum Bay, South Eleuthera at their ceremony, with Ministry of Tourism and Education Officials.

(024 – South Eleuthera)
Vatrell Brown, Hervis Cartwright, Stanton Cooper Sr., Stanton Stanron Cooper,  Susan Cooper, Precious Deal, Edmund Delancy, James Ferguson, John Francis, Jeron Gaitor, Marvin Gibson, Sidney Hanna, Tamara Johnson, Cleveland Knowles, Portia Kemp, Phillip Kemp, Coulton McCartney, Ann Allen-Morley, Timothy Morley, Shonnorae Denise Newbold, John Pinder, Themica Pinder, Spence Pinder, Dudley Richards, Zyria Sands, V. Wallace Sands, Lewis Smith, Emma Turnquest, and Vaughn Woodside.

Following the keynote addresses, both sets of sharply dressed graduates were pinned and presented with their Bahamahost certificates, as family members and friends in the audience looked on.  A special award was also presented to the most outstanding graduate of each session, called the ‘Lionel Elliot Excellence Award’, after an employee at the Ministry of Tourism, who during his tenure exemplified high standards and exceptional work.   This Award of Excellence was presented to Mr. Marvin Gibson in session 024, and to Mrs. Denise Newbold in session 023.

The two-week Bahamahost Certification Programme, where the participants met during four hour sessions for five evenings each week, places emphasis on superior customer service, in recognition of it being essential to the Bahamas’ service based economy. The programme, which is aimed at equipping the Bahamian workforce, especially those in the tourism sector, with the essential product knowledge, customer service skills and leadership competencies required for success in the tourism and hospitality sector, is open to everyone.

Mrs. Young-Fox shared that all one has to do is call in to or visit the Ministry of Tourism offices in Governor’s Harbour or Harbour Island to apply to join the next session, the dates of which would be confirmed once 10-25 applicants are in place (dependent on location).  Interested businesses are also encouraged to call Mrs. Young-Fox, who says that the program can be specially tailored for a specific group of employees, with the option of a five (5) day compacted presentation.

Jacqueline Gibson, General Manager – Ministry of Tourism, Eleuthera; Michael Culmer, District Superintendent of Education – Eleuthera District; Dr. Kenneth Romer, Executive Director – Product Quality & Support in the Ministry of Tourism; Glenda Ingraham – Ministry of Tourism, Eleuthera; and Deborah Young-Fox, Trainer – Ministry of Tourism, Eleuthera – were on hand to participate in the graduation events.