The 2008 National Hall of Fame Induction is an opportunity for showing the admiration and respect of the Government and the entire country for the “great men and women of yesteryear who were so largely responsible for creating the framework” by which The Bahamas has become a world power in sports, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Desmond Bannister said Saturday.

“Allow me to say that tonight’s occasion might also be regarded as exceptional in that, for the first time in five years, the quality of this country’s National Hall of Fame is being enhanced by the inclusion of persons who have toiled so hard and so long as national and international warriors, marching in the vanguard of our country’s prospects for excellence in the international arena of high-level sport,” Minister Bannister said at the National Hall of Fame Banquet, held at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.

Also attending the event, which was held under the Distinguished Patronage of Governor General His Excellency Arthur D. Hanna, were Parliamentarians; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Mr. Archie Nairn; Ministry staff members; executives of the Bahamas Olympic Association; the 15 honourees and their families and friends; national federations representatives and distinguished guests from Antigua, St. Vincent, St. Martin and Grenada.

Minister Bannister said that, in his lifetime, he had the opportunity to witness a number of “these veteran gladiators” in action and he could testify that they had a clear understanding of their unique responsibilities as “ambassadors for themselves, their families and the country that gave them birth.”

The 15 nominees are as follows: the Hon. Peter J. Bethell (deceased) for baseball and sports administration; Member of Parliament Dr. Bernard Nottage for track and field and sports administration; Mr. Roy Armbrister (deceased) for cricket, boxing and soccer; Mr. William H. “Yama Bahama” Butler for professional boxing; Mr. Hubert Wong for bodybuilding and powerlifting; Mr. Winston “Gus” Cooper for sports administration; Mr. Sterling Quant for baseball and softball; Mr. Tom “The Bird” Grant for track and field; basketball; volleyball; rugby; and sports administration; Ms. Betty Kelly Kenning for swimming; Mr. Winston “Tappy” Davis basketball and sports administration; Mr. Churchill “Tener” Knowles for softball and sports administration; Captain Rollie Gray (deceased) for sloop sailing; Mr. Edison “Ambry” Armbrister for baseball and softball; Mr. Henry Crawford (deceased) for track and field and sports administration and Mr. Fred “Papa” Smith for baseball and softball.

Minister Bannister said that the success of all these great Bahamians is “ample evidence” of what was within them: a will power and ambition to succeed, irrespective of the setbacks that each had to encounter.

“This is the message that I would wish to place in the hearts of all young people of The Bahamas: to dream and then to vigorously pursue that dream so that the day will come when they, too, will be called upon to receive the highest national honour in Bahamian sports by being asked to enter the eternal doors of this country’s National Hall of Fame,” Minister Bannister said.