Bahamas Signs Cultural Agreement With Cuba

Bahamian Culture In Full Display During Festival of Fire

The Bahamas has signed an agreement with the Republic of Cuba to enhance cultural relations and for a student cultural exchange programme that will benefit both countries.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson signed on behalf of The Bahamas with Minister of Culture in Cuba Julian Gonzales.

The significant signing came after 300 Bahamians descended on Santiago de Cuba to participate in the city’s Festival of Fire as special guests of honour.

The festival will end on July 9.

Santiago de Cuba is the Republic of Cuba’s second city and was founded over 500 years ago.

With San Salvador being discovered only a few years earlier in 1492, representatives of both countries say the neighbouring countries have close ties.

Dr. Johnson says the signed agreement will ensure that the countries’ relationship remains strong.

“We think Santiago and San Salvador are sister cities. We have concluded the final agreement for our cultural exchange between the College of The Bahamas, the University of Santiago and the University of Havana for the promotion, protection and documentation of all our great cultural history,” he said.

“Cuba has taken the lead in trying to get the Caribbean and Latin America on the same page. We are here to display the common bond that we share and really put Bahamian art and culture on the world’s stage because people are very interested in what we do and how we interpret our art, music and dance.”

Artisans, junkanooers, chefs, storytellers, musicians and cultural icons are all in Santiago de Cuba this week to help showcase Bahamian culture.

Wife of Prime Minister Perry Christie, Bernadette Christie is also a guest of honour at the festival.

Photos of Junkanoo have been placed in the city’s theatre to display the country’s climax expression of culture.

Officials from the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) have brought 65 art pieces to open a pop-up Bahamas gallery filled with work from the likes of Brent Malone, Amos Ferguson and Jackson Burnside among others.

On July 4th, while fireworks lit the sky all over the United States to signify its independence, fireworks also dazzled in Santiago de Cuba to signify the opening of “Bahamas House” – the epicenter of Bahamian culture over the next week.

For the next several days, The Bahamas will participate in a city-wide parade, host a gala, conduct food demonstrations, a fashion show, bush-tea celebrations, host a theater on Bahamian culture and host a children’s event involving Bahamian ring play games.

Dr. Johnson said it’s the government’s intention to continue to display Bahamian culture worldwide.

“We have had many invitations from many other countries to display our culture. People want to know who we are and it’s my hope that we will develop a traveling show to show them exactly who we are. The world wants to know and it’s time for us to show them,” he said.   

Media Contact: Kendea Smith | ksmith@bahamas.com | 242-397-2786