Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Michael Pintard told Grand Bahamian artisans that the options for products using the conch shell are endless and that his Ministry, through BAIC, is prepared to work with them in discovering many of those options.
“We live in a global village and the reality is the Bahamas needs to be fully integrated,” said Minister Pintard. “The Government, through its e-government, e-commerce business is now seeking to set up all areas of government, so that we are integrated with the global community online.
“I believe that there are tremendous opportunities in the cooperative movement if you work together.
“For those of you who have ever visited Baha Mar, you will see what Antonius Roberts and other artists have done, utilizing conch shells to provide tremendous ambiance in the environment. Parliamentary Secretary Iram Lewis made recommendations of a wide range of products that can be created. In Junkanoo, the conch shell has been fashioned into amazing instruments. “So, the options are limited only by your imagination and creativity.”
Minister Pintard was the keynote speaker during closing ceremonies of the Conch Shell Carving Workshop, which was held at the Grand Bahama Arts & Craft centre on May 9, 2019. The 10-day workshop attracted a number of creative artisans from West End to East End of Grand Bahama, who put on full display their creative genius, creating a number of products using the conch shell.
The Minister got an opportunity to preview all of the works that were created, following the closing ceremonies.
During his address, Minister Pintard told the workshop participants that since he initially opened the program in Grand Bahama, interesting developments have taken place: the team from BAIC is poised to work more closely with the artisans more quickly than they had originally anticipated. “Since we left, and after having conversation with the trainer [of the workshop], we are committed to purchasing the industrial machine that you will need for creating your products,” said Minister Pintard. “We have allocated the funds already in this year’s budget to purchase the machine.
“It is my hope that when we launch the second half of this course in the summer, we will be able to go to the next level, using additional technology, to allow you to continue to do the work that you’re doing.”
Further, Minister Pintard pointed out that the Department of Cooperatives is anxious to meet with the Grand Bahamian artists. As a result, he added that they are arranging to have members from the Department of Cooperatives fly to Freeport and make a presentation, so that the artists can decide who would be interested in forming joint companies or cooperatives in order to leverage their strengths.