The Bahamas benefits from cultural exchange

By: Eric Rose

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Although it is difficult to measure cultural exchanges in financial terms, it is clear that such activities contribute “in no small measure” to the sense of national pride and self esteem of the Bahamian people, said Minister of State for Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard.

“My government is convinced that it is our duty to share our cultural heritage, our cultural expressions, our literature, our music, songs and most certainly our Junkanoo, with the people of the world,” Minister Maynard said, during his recent Budget Communication, in the House of Assembly.

“We are also obliged to expose our citizens to the cultural diversity that makes up our world and to allow our fledgling artists to take full advantage of the expertise that can be gained from interacting with other countries,” he added.

Although the benefits of such cultural exchanges are less financially-measurable and more holistic, giving “aesthetic meaning” to citizens’ lives, Minister Maynard said, there are tangible ways that Bahamians can benefit from such cross-nation interactions.

He cited the recent visit of the Mississippi Valley State University Concert Choir, as an example of what could be the possible outcome of exchanges.

He said that the choir was hosted by Governor-General, His Excellency Arthur D. Hanna, and performed at an event along with a Bahamian gospel group, Prophetic Voices.

By the time the event, which included a reception, was done, Minister Maynard said, the prospects of academic scholarships for members of the Prophetic Voices were explored and discussed.

Minister Maynard added: “In an effort to further develop this aspect of our cultural agenda, substantial resources will be allocated to ensuring that national entities, such as the National Youth Choir, The National Children’s Choir, the National Dance Company, the National Youth Orchestra, the Junkanoo community, and individual and group practitioners in the visual, folk, and performing arts sectors, are supported in their efforts to reach out and touch the world.”

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