Categorized | National News

Fitzgerald Asks MPs For Money

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald is asking each MP to contribute at least $5,000 from their constituency allowance towards an initiative that will help more Bahamians realise their dreams of a college education.

The initiative will be called the Bahamas National High School Marching Band Competition.

After a few years, the ministry hopes to expand it into the Bahamas International High School Marching Band Competition.

During his address in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Minister Fitzgerald said parliamentarians must use innovative ways to place more students on the path to higher learning and independence.

“I am therefore asking each member of the House to assist by contributing at least $5,000 from their constituency allowance toward this worthwhile cause. I have prepared letters for each member to sign addressed to the Ministry of Finance where each member can put in the amount they wish to contribute and you can specify the high school or high schools in their constituency or the high school their constituents attend if none are directly in their constituency,” he said.

“The Ministry of Finance has agreed to facilitate our request. I have three high schools in my constituency that my constituents attend. Marathon’s commitment will be $25,000.”

He added, “This is more than a battle for band supremacy, but a quest to provide tertiary education through music to students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend college.”

Mr. Fitzgerald also announced that his ministry is partnering with the private sector to host the National High School Band competition.

The contest is slated for March 29, 2014 at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium.

“It will feature high school bands from New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands competing for the title of the ‘Top High School Band’ in the country.

While he acknowledges that a band competition is not a novel idea, he said the object of this new competition is different.

“The difference is that although we expect to create great rivalries, we are seeking at the end of the day to have international scouts from universities and colleges where bands are a major part of their programme attend the national marching band competition to view our talent with the possibility of offering scholarships to deserving/qualified students,” he said.

“The individuals who the ministry has partnered with have a successful track record or organising local events and are steeped in the music business.”

Minister Fitzgerald anticipates using the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium for the inaugural competition and expect within three years to transition into the national stadium where high school bands from outside of The Bahamas will be invited to attend.

“We already have great interest from schools in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands. Many of the school’s commitment hinges on securing musical equipment to assist them in the competition,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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