BAIC chairman Edison Key, Chief Councillor Zebedee Rolle, South Andros Handicraft and Manufacturers Association president Emily Rahming and trainer April Martin-Fox are pictured with some of the graduates last weekend. (BIS photo/Gladstone Thurston)
By: Gladstone Thurston
THE BLUFF, South Andros – BAIC chairman Edison Key encouraged artisans in Andros to tap into the $150 million per year spent importing souvenirs.
Mr. Key was the keynote speaker at BAIC’s graduation ceremony for students of the corporation’s straw and shell craft course.
Fifty Androsians graduated with honours in the shell and coconut craft. Their trainers were April Martin-Fox and Howard Bevans.
Patrons came all the way from Blanket Sound/Stafford Creek in the deep North to celebrate the latest milestone in BAIC’s endeavour to create an indigenous Bahamian souvenir market.
“Why can’t we produce them right here in The Bahamas?” he said. “We can supply every one of those items and keep that money right here in The Bahamas.”
The ceremony also paid tribute to the pioneering South Andros Handicraft and Manufacturers Association headed by Mrs. Emily Rahming.
Elaine Forbes, a graduate in shell craft, said the course was “very enjoyable and quite a learning experience.”
“We learned that all shells can be just as beautiful when made into an exquisite broach, hair comb or even an earring. We will share our creative talents with everyone,” said added.
During his remarks, Mr. Key also pointed to the possibilities that can be created through the laying of roads to the fertile western side of the island.
He said new communities could be created, “once access is made available to the vast amount of land comprising South Andros.”
“Andros is such a beautiful island and has so much to offer our Bahamaland,” he said, “but you will never know this because there are no access roads to the best of the land.
“We need to put roads through to the lucrative western side,” he said drawing sustained applause. “This could open up a whole new world for South Andros in the area of agriculture, fishing, crabbing, craft and other things. We really need to open up South Andros.
“Andros is a sleeping giant, and it has been sleeping too long. I am here to do what I can to support you,” he said. BAIC chairman Edison Key (left), North Andros Handicraft Association president Hyacinth Hanna (centre) and Bahamas National Craft Association president Melonie Thompson admire a piece on display at the South Andros graduation. (BIS photo/Gladstone Thurston)