Ernald (left) and Cynthia Ambrister (second right) of Staniard Creek show BAIC chairman Edison Key and his wife Katie Key their crab exhibit. (Photo by Gladstone Thurston)
By: Gladstone Thurston
FRESH CREEK, Andros – Thirty-three candidates graduated with top honors from BAIC’s coconut craft programme as the Central Andros Handicraft Association staged its first festival this weekend.
With ‘Empowering Androsians Through Self Employment’ as its theme, the festival showcased a wide variety of creation using mainly native ingredients. The show attracted patrons from Behring Point in the South all the way to Nicholls Town including a large contingent from the United States’ AUTEC navel base.
They were entertained with song, dance and comedy Andros style, and were served native dishes.
BAIC executive chairman Edison Key supported the Association’s quest for a centrally located, easily accessible craft centre and museum where they can exhibit their unique styling. The abandoned former government administration building in Fresh Creek has been proposed.
“That stately colonial structure overlooking the tongue of the ocean would be ideal for the creative arts and headquarters for the Association,” said Mr. Key.
“There are millions of dollars out there to be made,” he told artisans. “That’s how much we spend importing souvenirs for our tourists.
“This must stop, or be reduced to the bare minimum. There has to be a way for some of that money to start flowing directly into your pockets. Our tourists tell us that when they visit The Bahamas they do not want any made-in-some-other-country souvenir anyway.
“And there is no scarcity of Bahamian product. Because of the tremendous effort of BAIC’s Handicraft Development and Marketing Department, persons all over The Bahamas have been inspired to utilize native ingredients, to fashion lovely memorabilia that are taking on uniquely Bahamian themes.
“I see big things happening for in souvenir production. This is but the dawn of a new day.”