NASSAU, The Bahamas – The construction and/or renovation of a National Museum of The Bahamas has tremendous potential in terms of not only preserving the country’s history for future generations of Bahamians, but also in generating job and wealth creation opportunities for Bahamians of all walks of life, Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis said Wednesday.
Just last week, the Prime Minister proposed the construction of a National Museum of The Bahamas not only for the benefit of Bahamians, but also as a heritage experience for tourists. The Prime Minister said the construction of a National Museum of The Bahamas would reap great dividends for the country.
On Wednesday (June 21), Prime Minister Minnis said whether the National Museum of The Bahamas will be constructed as a free-standing facility or through the renovation of existing space at “Centreville” (where the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation is currently located in the old Ministry of Education Headquarters Compound on Shirley Street and Collins Avenue) is a matter that will be up for discussion with officials at the Corporation which is headed by Dr. Keith Tinker, Ph.D., Director of the National Museum of The Bahamas, the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation (AMMC).
“The Bahamas has great potential in terms of our history and our historic sites and we have to grasp the opportunity,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “It’s unfortunate they (Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation) do not have a proper museum within which to display that history. That must be dealt with as we move forward because Bahamians are losing a lot of their history.
“We must see to it that a proper museum is either constructed or renovated in order to give Bahamians and visitors alike an opportunity to see these artifacts being displayed properly so that they will be able to get a glimpse into our great Bahamian history.
“Whether we will construct a free standing museum or renovate what is here now, is a discussion they and I will have going forward, but the bottom line is we must have a proper museum to display the various artifacts found within The Bahamas – plus its an excellent attraction for both tourists and residents.”
Prime Minister Minnis made his comments while visiting facilities at the site of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation. The tour was part of the Prime Minister’s ongoing familiarization visits to government corporations, ministries and departments that fall under the purview of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Minnis’ most recent visit was to the Department of Lands and Surveys. Officials there say it was the first time a Minister at any level had visited the Department in almost thirty years. As with all of his previous familiarization visits, the Prime Minister was accompanied by Mr. Jack Thompson, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister.
“I am an ardent believer in culture. I think it has a great role to play in terms of attracting cruise and airlift tourists to our shores and expanding economic opportunities for Bahamians while also increasing revenue,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“Ours is a richly textured culture. Our history, music, food, dance, art, craft and our folkways are distinctly different. We must fully capitalize on our culture and heritage to add a more vibrant visitor experience.”
Prime Minister Minis said twenty-first century travelers are seeking more than the proverbial sun, sand and sea experience.
“They travel in search of unique and authentic experiences. The Bahamas has a rich culture that can provide those experiences and should be tapped into to generate additional tourism revenue.”
Prime Minister Minnis encouraged executives at the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation to develop a Master Plan for the development of the National Museum of The Bahamas – one that would allow for job and wealth creation for a larger number of Bahamians.
“Government obviously does not have all of the necessary resources to do certain things and I am an ardent believer in privatization because through privatization you expand wealth,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“When I say privatize, I am not suggesting privatizing to any select group, but the kind of privatization that will create wealth and expand wealth to give everybody an opportunity. Individuals can have great ideas, but not necessarily the resources. Government’s responsibility should be to create opportunities for them so that you can create wealth, but not confine it (wealth) to one location. If you do that with the multiple forts that we have for example, then you would be surprised at the amount of jobs you create, the amount of opportunities you create and that’s the type of privatization I prefer, the kind that expands wealth and create job opportunities for more Bahamians,” Prime Minister Minnis added.