The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture announced, on February 21, 2018, that it will be holding its second Culture and Youth in the Park event on Saturday, February 24, from 3pm to 7pm, at the Father Marshall Cooper Park, in the area of Centreville. “The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture believe that we have a commitment to engage young people — particularly in our historic communities,” Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard said at the press conference held that day, at the Ministry’s University Drive Headquarters. The Culture and Youth in the Park programme is a part of community outreach and a way to encourage and recognize the youth and culturally-minded persons throughout The Bahamas. “Many of the challenges that our young people are facing, we believe would’ve been worse had it not been for the many organizations — including church or faith-based organizations, the civic and social organizations — who continue to intervene in these communities,” he added. “We want parents and young people to know the various organizations that they can join and be a part of and support.” Minister Pintard noted that a part of that exercise is to expose the community to those types of organizations. “At the same time, it’s important that we showcase the talent in these communities,” Minister Pintard said. “We believe Bahamians are as talented as anyone else and anywhere else, and to the extent that young people in our historic communities can see gifted young persons just like themselves performing and speaking to them about real issues they are facing in their community; it inspires them.”
Cultural Affairs Officer Mrs. Terez Davis-Nixon said that the Ministry is “so excited” to once again present an opportunity for persons to showcase “who we are as Bahamians.” Youth Officer John Ronald Darville said that the youth component of the programme seeks primarily to provide opportunities for youth engagement. “Statistics have proven that young persons who are involved in holistic activities are less likely to be engaged in deviant behaviour; and so a thrust, based on the mandate that has been given to us, has been to bring to the community level youth engagement, organizations, programs and projects that may be facilitated by persons in various youth organizations that are registered with the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture — to provide the process of registration for persons in the community who may not be engagd in a youth organization or activity,” Mr. Darville said.
Project Coordinator Henry Higgins added that a number of groups and performers from the Centreville area will be taking part in the event, including the 80-plus-member Centreville Primary School Choir, the Fort Fincastle youth group. Mr. Higgins pointed out there will also be a Junkanoo rush-out and Bahamian talents from the wider community taking part in the event. “Leroy the ‘Limbo’ King is coming to perform our limbo dancing and we have Sammie Star, one of our great musicians and singers, will be there as well, along with Mr. J, who does a lot of his music based on educating children to stay in school,” he said
Mr. Higgins pointed out that all of the craft and vendors will be from the Centreville area. “What we are doing is showcasing the culture of Centreville on that day,” he said. “Part of our role, we believe, is to inspire our people,” Minister Pintard reiterated. “As challenging as things are, we know that things are in fact — through the grace of God, through our hard work and collaboration — going to get a lot better.”