Letter to the Editor: Highlighting the best of us

Letter to the Editor: Highlighting the best of us

Dear Editor,

At a time when too many focus on what’s wrong with our country, I’d like to focus on what’s right with our country. 

Mrs. Katherina Williams (nee Pinder) grew up in a family committed to God, family, and nation-building service. They daily lived the adage that it takes a Village to raise a child. The Pinder family was foundational in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Virginia St. and everyone within the sound of St. Mary’s bells was the Village. No priest in their Parish Church could question Mr. & Mrs. Williams’ support. She quietly and firmly affirmed that no matter how much partying happened on the weekend, Church was the place to be on Sunday morning. Also, if the Priest or the Bishop called, by her example, she made it clear that we were to immediately and happily respond with willing and supportive hearts.  The Regency Park Village can attest that Mrs. Williams was a surrogate mother to all and the Williams’ home was a gathering spot for that Village.   

I got to know Mrs. Andrea Sweeting during the tenure of Ambassador Ned Siegel. His wife, Mrs. Stephanie Siegel, worked very closely with the Sister Sister Breast Cancer group, set up a Foundation, that, among other things, funded BRACA gene research, and brought the Susan Komen group to The Bahamas, which led to important advancements, including the Komen participation in Marathon Bahamas Weekend. The world-famous Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, in which Mrs. Sweeting’s granddaughter Courtney Spears is a ballerina, came to The Bahamas to assist with fundraising. Mrs. Sweeting was front and center, actively participating in all of these efforts. For me, much more striking was her tireless effort in supporting survivors of breast cancer and sharing her personal experiences. In meetings, while Mrs. Sweeting validated the importance of research and funding, she always brought focus to the human need and experience. Drawing from her strong faith, she courageously faced her own health challenges while always focusing on the needs of others, especially personal support – a hug, a listening ear, an encouraging word, and when necessary, food or other physical support. Her life was a testament to “it takes a Village.” 

Devynne Charlton, is a young Bahamian athlete breaking world records in her event and proudly representing The Bahamas on the world athletics scene. Naturally, we are very proud of her and thrilled that she is establishing new records. Devynne is a product of the Dave and Laura Charlton (her parents) Village. Dave Charlton represented The Bahamas as a hurdler when he was younger. When Dave, stepping out in faith, started his sporting club, Laura was (and still is) always by his side. Hundreds of Bahamian athletes would have been shaped by Dave and Laura Charlton. I believe that Laura’s was the first woman owned Bahamian pharmacy. Breaking into and succeeding in this business was itself a big challenge. She, too, stepped out in faith. Thousands of Bahamian parents across generations can attest that the sporting club was and still is a Village.  

Devynne is the fruit of the Charlton Village. Scores in Regency Park and beyond are the fruit of Mrs. Williams’ leadership in the Regency Park Village. Hundreds of Bahamians can attest to the influence of Mrs. Sweeting in their lives.

The lives of the late Katherina Williams, the late Andrea Sweeting, and Devynne Charlton are a cross-generational testament to the indomitable Bahamian spirit that is grounded in faith, the Village raising children and children excelling because they know that the Village is cheering them on to excellence.

During our 50th Anniversary of Independence, let’s herald our success stories, the guidelines for good citizenship, and nation-building. 

Written by: Allyson Gibson