Graduation Speakers – Say ‘Something Nice’ or Nothing At All

Go Lean Commentary

Congratulations to all the graduates in the Class of 2018.

Way to go! Before you move the tassel from left to right, you have to endure the invited speaker who should deliver an inspired Commencement speech. To that speaker, we urge: “Say something nice or say nothing at all”.

Please learn the good lesson from this bad speech delivered last year to the combined graduating classes – 400 students – of all 4 public high schools in Grand Bahama (Freeport), Bahamas in June 2017.

This was really bad!

First though, some background …

… this was one month after the new government came into power in the Bahamas. The political party, Free National Movement, with the Leader and thusly the new Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, was voted in with a landslide victory on May 10, 2017. The party, and new Cabinet, was thrust into power by a mandate of the Bahamian people; their demand for a change because the assessments before were so very bad. The new Minister of Education, Jeffrey Lloyd was called on to give this graduation speech. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that this was his first one; see here:

Title: Education Minister tells GB Public School Graduates to Think Globally, Get Qualified, Come Back and Build Their Country

By: Andrew Coakley, Bahamas Information Services

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Minister of Education the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd told the 2017 graduating class of public school students in Grand Bahama that The Bahamas critically needs their talents to positively shape and form the future of these islands.  “Go out and see the world – there are six or seven continents in this world — go and visit them all, and even work in them all, but come back home and build your country,” said Minister Lloyd.

“We need your talents, your brilliance, your capabilities and your insights so that we can become the best little country on God’s earth.”

The Education Minister’s remarks came during graduation ceremonies for the Ministry of Education’s Inaugural Bahamas High School Diploma, which was held at the Grand Lucayan resort on Friday, June 9, 2017. The ceremony combined the public schools on Grand Bahama, inclusive of Jack Hayward High School, St. George’s High School, Eight Mile Rock High, as well as students from the Beacon School.

“Today, there are nearly 50,000 students in the public schools in this country,” said Minister Lloyd.  “Young people like you, under the age of 20, make up approximately 40 percent of the population of this land. Those under 30 make up almost 60 percent of this population.

“So, without a doubt, the future social atmosphere, the cultural identity, the economic and political reality of this country is directly tied to the constructive development of you. This is a time of great opportunity; it is also a time of great trial and challenge.

“There are many, many negative influences that swirl about in your young lives.”

He apologized to those graduates who may not have had the opportunity to have positive role models in their lives and within their environments. He said those are not the paradigm they must follow, but that Jesus, the Christ is the role model to follow.

“And what he invites you to understand graduates, is that you must let no one take your greatness, your potential, your power, your magnificence nor your splendor from you,” said Minister Lloyd.

The Education Minister reminded the students that they live in what is considered to be one of the most exciting times in mankind’s history.

Minister Lloyd reminded teachers that education has changed and is constantly changing; now it is driven by technology.

“So educators, if you are not tech savvy, you better get there, because that is the world we live in today. Unlike anytime in our history the re-dedication of the educational professional to their craft and the outcomes they seek, what we seek, is never more powerful.”

Minister Lloyd left the graduates with three final thoughts as they move to the next level of their lives: Think globally, get qualified and become mobile.

Source: Posted June 12, 2017; retrieved May 26, 2018 from The Official Website of the Government of The Bahamas

We have made this assessment of the speech and verbiage of this new government before. These words by the Education Minister is the same bad advice:

“Go out and see the world … visit them all, and even work in them all, but come back home and build your country”.

Yeah, nobody does that! They leave; they very seldom come back!

The Education Minister here seems to be doubling-down on failure. In a previous blog-commentary, the Prime Minister, Dr. Minnis, addressed a Bahamian Diaspora group and he portrayed them as if they were the panacea, the “cure-all”, for what ails the Bahamas. This attitude truly reflects why the Bahamas, and especially this 2nd city of Freeport, is failing in all their societal engines. The problem is abandonment or human flight. Now, the chief educator in the country stares down at these young impressionable men and women and urges them further to …

Get world experience and then maybe, if its not too much trouble, come back.

It is a well known fact, that the college educated populations in the Bahamas do NOT come back. In fact, according to a World Bank study, the country suffers from a 61 percent abandonment rate.

Most of what ails Freeport and the whole Bahamas (actually true for the entire Caribbean) is the human flight of their most educated citizens. A country cannot “nation build” without nation-builders. A government policy that urges young ones to leave and complete their development abroad is a flawed strategy; it should not be spoken. This is not just a problem for the Bahamas,  but has been consistently lambasted in these other Caribbean member-states:

This commentary is from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean. We have criticized every Caribbean member-state that projects policies that encourage more traffic among their Diaspora – those who had fled, being “pushed” or “pulled” away from their homeland. This policy-strategy double-downs on the failure of why the Diaspora left in the first place. A previous commentary explained:

The subtle message to the Caribbean population is that they need to leave their homeland, go get success and then please remember to invest in us afterwards.

… It is so unfortunate that the people in the Caribbean are beating down the doors to get out of their Caribbean homeland, to seek refuge in these places like the US, Canada and Western Europe. … We have such a sad state of affairs for our Caribbean eco-system as we are suffering from a bad record of societal abandonment.

This movement advocates for the people of Freeport, people of the Bahamas and the people of the Caribbean. We want them all to “prosper where planted” in their Caribbean homelands. But first, we must “stop the bleeding” – even student loans have been defaulted by those abandoning their Bahamian homeland. Leaving home to matriculate and/or work has a serious and consistent track record of failure. This should never be the theme of a Commencement address.

Our quest should be to “stop the bleeding”. This is truly a quest, and not just an idea. This is not easy; there is heavy-lifting involved. We must assess the reasons why people leave, the “push and pull” factors, then conceive strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to assuage the bad trend. Yes, this quest is conceivable, believable and achievable.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – Freeport, for the Bahamas and for all member-states. The book asserts that the region must work to hold on its populations – especially the well-educated classes – not send them away and see them never return from foreign shores. To accomplish this objective, this CU/Go Lean roadmap presents these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The book aligns with the vision of the Education Minister and the  Prime Minister of the Bahamas in the desire to reform and transform their community. But the Go Lean roadmap does not double-down on the failing policy of “leaving off” from nation-building for the hope that maybe someday, the student can nation-build later. Rather, the book provides the turn-by-turn direction of how to reform Bahamian (and all Caribbean) education systems now with the new education regime that the Education Minister alluded to in his ill-fated speech:

Minister Lloyd reminded teachers that education has changed and is constantly changing; now it is driven by technology.

The Go Lean movement has consistently urged Caribbean communities to invest … in post-secondary education options right here in the region, or better still, right here at home, maybe even e-Learning solutions. These points were exhaustingly detailed in these previous blog-commentaries:

There is a reason, this commentary can criticize the Minister of Education, the Honorable Jeffrey Lloyd. Despite his knowledge, desire and hope for the students in his audience, he could not present this “study local and online” plan. The problems facing the Bahamas are too insurmountable for the Bahamas alone. This government’s scope is only a population of 320,000; the ideal solutions require more leverage, a BIGGER market. This is the strategy of the CU/Go Lean roadmap; it  targets all 30 Caribbean member-states and their 42 million people. The larger scope is accomplished by forging a Single Market of all these countries and catering for the educational needs of this full Single Market.

Yes, a better educational landscape – one that minimizes the risk of abandonment – is ushered in with an interdependence of the Caribbean member-states. This was an early motivation for the CU/Go Lean roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14) of the book:

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvi.  Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries … [and] invigorate the enterprises related to existing industries … impacting the region with more jobs.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

The vision of Caribbean interdependence is a great theme for a Commencement address. Describing the prospects of an inviting homeland where the students can prosper would be an truly inspirational speech. Inspiration is one of the mandates of any good Commencement address; see Appendix. So to the Honorable Minister Jeffrey Lloyd, we hereby deliver to you this previous blog-commentary for your consideration; and grant you permission to glean from its inspiration and messaging:

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

… Changing one-self; changing the community and changing the world; these are great aspirations! This is such a familiar theme for the [Go Lean] movement …

Yes, the societal defects of the Caribbean can be fixed – remediated and mitigated – but “if it is going to be, it starts with me”; it is necessary for all stakeholders to engage in the effort to turn-around the Caribbean. To forge change, the region must consider top-down and bottoms-up approaches, so we need the multitude of Caribbean people (bottoms-up) and politicians and community leaders (top-down) to lean-in to this quest to turn-around the community. Yes, it starts with “me”, as in everyone.

So Minister Jeffrey Lloyd, we urge you to say “something nice” … like this or say nothing at all.

For an example of an inspiring Commencement address, see this VIDEO in the Appendix below.

Freeport is in dire straits. The city needs its young men and women to be champions at home, not on the road. So urging Freeport’s human capital to leave is just irresponsible. Any effort to reboot Freeport can only be exerted by being in Freeport. This commentary had previously detailed the assessment and possibilities for Freeport; see this sample here: More ‘Bad News’ for Freeport A Vision of Freeport as a Self-Governing Entity ‘Crap Happens’ – So What Now? Case Study: Freeport Freeport’s Bad Model: Economic Dysfunctions with Rent-Seeking Caribbean Ghost Towns: It Could Happen…Again in Freeport How to Train Your ‘Dragon’ – Freeport Version ‘We Built This City …’ on Music and Entertainment A Lesson in History for Freeport – Concorde SST Dire City – ‘10,000 Bahamians Living in Darkness in Grand Bahama’

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform Freeport and the regional collective of Caribbean communities.

To the people of Freeport, and to all the Caribbean, we urge …

Stay Home! Do NOT double-down on failure … by fleeing. The grass is not greener on the other side – of the border – you can thrive more at home than as an alien resident in another land. In North America or Europe, you will always be “alien”.

As related in this commentary, joining the Diaspora is bad for the Diaspora and bad for the Caribbean. The Diaspora should not be counted on to come back and save their previous Caribbean homes. No we must do the heavy-lifting ourselves. We can succeed to make our homelands better places to live, work and play so that our citizens can prosper where planted. This way, they wouldn’t have to leave in the first place. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 


Appendix VIDEO – Chadwick Boseman’s Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech –

Howard University

Published on May 14, 2018 – Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman provides words of inspiration to the Class of 2018 during Howard University’s 150th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 12 in Washington, D.C.

  • Category: Education
  •  License: Standard YouTube License
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