The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) with the theme “Growing, Partnering, Empowering” is laying the groundwork through its Handicraft Development Department to assist Bahamian creative arts business owners to take their products to the world stage. The Corporation aims to position itself as headquarters for educational and technical assistance for artisans to flood the marketplace with products made from their hands.
At an open-house ceremony on Thursday at the Corporation, BAIC Chairman, Michael Foulkes said that as BAIC positions itself as that premier facility for educational and technical assistance where artisans continue to partner with them — efforts are contributing substantially to the enhancement of the economy. To the artisans, he said: “I challenge you to do more and reach more.”
Artisans like James Sands and Deirdre Palacious were present to showcase their products and we’re proud of the support they have received from BAIC. They encouraged others to get involved.
“Recycling is the way to go and I’d like to tell everyone that BAIC is going to take it to another level. Hopefully, they are going to provide the platform for me to show Bahamians that not only is it sustainable, but also beneficial to be recycling stuff,” said James Sands.
Rosemary Clarice Hanna was also present and representing “Creative Nassau”, a registered non-profit civil society created to promote Bahamian arts and culture. Mrs. Hanna weighed in on the development of the Bahamian tourism product and challenged artisans. She said, “Do we wish to become the masters of our own fate and take a risk in ourselves to have faith in our own people, and to believe in our boundless creativity to retain, grow, and sustain the uniqueness of our tourism product?”
Additionally, she challenged Bahamians to embrace BAIC’s model in partnership and to work closely with the Inter-Development Bank’s (IDB) “Emerging and Sustainable Initiatives” that support the “Redevelopment of Downtown Nassau” and the Bain & Grants Town Residential Community, as part of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP).
BAIC is centrally located in the Industrial Complex, across from BTVI, and is spearheading these initiatives to offer funding to artists, because according to Chairman Foulkes, “Over 700 persons have benefited from training programmes in straw craft, shell craft, coconut shell, wood turning, soap making, and Junkanoo souvenir production.”
BAIC’s new Board of Directors is driven to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit