Minister of the Environment and Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira held a press conference at the Ministry’s headquarters on Friday and endorsed a partnership between the Forestry Unit in the Ministry and “Creative Nassau,” a local cultural organization formed in 2008 by the late Jackson Burnside III. The arts and culture group has as its mandate, the showcasing of indigenous Bahamian culture to the world — specifically through art, cultural elements, and heritage. The straw used in Bahamian straw craft comes from a Non-Timber Forest Product found in the Bahamian National Forest Estate and should be protected for future generations. The Forestry Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Housing supports straw craft registration as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Protecting Bahamian Heritage is fundamental to the Ministry of the Environment & Housing’s mission. Through Creative Nassau’s efforts, in December 2014 the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) declared the City of Nassau a ‘Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts,’ with Junkanoo and straw arts declared outstanding cultural representations. Minister Ferreira, in signing the Memorandum of Understanding, said the endorsement with Creative Nassau presented an effort “to work together in the areas of public education and awareness, research, and the development, promotion, and provisions of the Act and the Forestry Regulation 2014. This includes advancing policy and initiatives in regards to Non-Timber Forest Products.
“The Ministry is also driven to implement internationally-funded projects to meet National Development and Sustainable Development Goals, such as partnering with the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF)-funded ‘Pine Islands — Forest/Mangrove Innovation and Integration’ in Grand Bahama, New Providence, Abaco, and Andros,” he said.