By Gladstone Thurston
Downtown Nassau was abuzz with cruise ship tourists.
Decked out in summer wear, they sauntered lazily along taking in this balmy, winter’s day.
Merchants touted their wares; taxis plied their passengers; walking tours showed off sites of interest.
Gay music filled the air contributing to a brisk, upbeat tempo.
But, wait! Screeeech! Slam emergency brakes. Something is not right here!
Not a single one of the songs being played was Bahamian. Not one. Not while I was there.
And as if downtown Nassau today is not anti-Bahamian enough already, merchants are driving perhaps the last nail in their cultural takeover of the capital of the Bahamas.
Back in the day, Bahamian music and Bahamian entertainment played key roles in showcasing Nassau to the world.
I say, unabashedly, that downtown Nassau is all but Bahamian! One would need an electron microscope to find anything Bahamian in the shops and restaurants there.
We are presenting as the face of this nation that which this nation is not. We are giving the world a false impression of who and what we are.
Take a close look, folks. Nassau has degenerated into nothing more than a very expensive flea market featuring cheap tee-shirts and merchandise many say borders on fakery.
If tourists come to the Bahamas to enjoy things Bahamian, then downtown Nassau is not the place for them to go.
We have, appointed to serve this nation, a well-paid minister with responsibility for culture.
To what extent the current minister has been advocating on the part of Bahamian culture, I don’t know.
But, based on the preponderance of non-Bahamian cultural expressions taking root in the Bahamas, we have to question the effectiveness of the minister's policy as it relates to Bahamian culture, if there is one.
Long story short: we call on the minister for culture and the government to rise to the occasion and Bahamianized downtown Nassau.
Failure to do so and we will move for the minister’s permanent recall from parliament.
We also warn those who would want to highjack Nassau, for their petty, personal gain, that unless things Bahamian obtain, we will lead a boycott of the anti-Bahamian Nassau merchants.