Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard said that the “Culture and Youth in the Park” event his Ministry held, on February 10, 2018, was a part of community outreach and a way to encourage and recognize the youth and culturally-minded persons throughout The Bahamas. “Essentially, we believe that it is important to interact with our young people in positive ways,” Minister Pintard said at the event, which was held on the George “Busta” Brown Park, in the Bain and Grants Town community. “In other words, persons who are in the historic communities, like Bain Town or the Over-The-Hill community, their interaction with the government should not be through the police and through Social Services and some of the agencies that suggest something else. We believe it ought to be positive engagement. “What we are seeking to do, as part of the revitalisation programme forged by the Prime Minister (the Hon. Hubert Minnis), is to do similar types of programmes that have been done by (Ministry of) Labour, through Labour on the Blocks; through Urban Renewal — through the initiatives they have launched; and now we are bringing culture to the park as well as youth outreach — where we are interacting with young people, talking about positive choices that they can make, opportunities that exist, and organizations that they can join.”
Among those present for the opening ceremony were: Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Travis L. Robinson, the Ministry’s Director of Culture Rowena Sutherland, Director of Youth and Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary K. Darron Turnquest, Project Co-ordinator Henry Higgins, Founder and Chair of the Eneas Street Festival Bridgette Seymour, community activist Rev. Dr. C. B. Moss, Woman Police Corporal and founder of The Bahamas International Drill Team Keva J. N. Major, Junkanoo icon and cultural businessman Quentin “Barabbas” Woodside, and government and civic stakeholders. “Many of the groups that are here are from Bain Town: we have the International Drill Team ‘in the house’; we have the marching bands here, Barabbas and the Tribe, and Geno D will be coming through,” Minister Pintard said.
He noted that Jr. Miss Galaxy Bahamas Maleah Gabrielle Miller, marching bands, church groups, dance troupes, and a multitude of others came out to interact with the young people in the community at the park. Bahamian ‘Limbo and Fire King,’ Leroy “Sweet Boy Leroy” Butler also interacted with the children present and performed for scores of cheering “new fans.”
“You can look at the enthusiasm of the young people who are here,” he pointed out.
He added that the vendors at the event were also from the community.
“We believe that when you are generating income it should be for those who are from the community, as opposed to people who are coming in, earning revenue and leaving,” Minister Pintard said. “We are excited to be here in this community,” Minister Pintard said. Director of Culture Rowena Sutherland said, “Culture and Youth in the Park is a part of a wider initiative that the Ministry is embarking on to support creative and cultural artists in The Bahamas, and the Ministry seeks to uplift the various neighborhoods throughout The Bahamas.”
She added that it was a national plan the Ministry is executing, the goal being to go into every constituency and empower them by finding out what their needs are, who are their cultural and religious leaders, and to give them the structural support they need; and then, in turn, have events and to create safe spaces for the residents to enjoy. “Saturday’s event in Bain and Grants Town was most successful,” Director Sutherland said. “Nearly all of the children in the neighborhood came out and were very engaged – they had a positive activity to engage in.” “We also had a lot of support from the leaders of the community in organizing the event; so that they felt that it was ‘theirs’; and it was a beautiful outpouring of community, of art, and of love,” she added.
Director Sutherland echoed Minister Pintard’s sentiments, saying that the Ministry seeks to promote the creative and cultural community and the Culture and Youth in the Park initiative will be a contributing catalyst in the development of the creative and cultural arts community. She also noted that vendors were able to sell their wares from 3 pm to 9 pm, providing for a large window of opportunity for sales that evening. “We are going to move to Centreville,” Minister Pintard noted. “We are going to be in Englerston, Pinewood Gardens, Nassau Village — we are going to be in every community in New Providence and, of course, by extension in the Family Islands.”