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Baha Mar Made Me Proud

EDITOR, The Tribune

Picture a diver climbing high up the ladder. Hours, years of practice behind them as their moment gets closer. They walk to the edge of the board. This feat has never been seen before. A country holds its breath, hoping for gold. We’ve been given a state of the art springboard; hear it quietly creak under their toes before they bend their knees and lift off, weightless ...

Then everything stops. They freeze in mid air.

As a designer living overseas, I was thrilled in 2014 when Baha Mar offered me the chance to design and purchase luxury merchandise for the Baha Mar owned retail stores. I felt extremely fortunate to be in Nassau, using my creative experience, something I didn’t think would be possible in my home town.

“The struggle is real today!” was the smiling ribbon of words rippling by you as you navigated whirlwinds of meetings, deadlines, and presentations fuelled by caffeine and optimism.

I thrived on these challenges. Days like minutes. The exhilarating thrum of positive activity created by Sarkis Izmirlian, one man’s dream that seamlessly became our own. You wanted all of your colleagues to succeed because it meant your success as well. We cared deeply about Baha Mar and each other.

Sarkis gave Baha Mar a soul long before the doors were supposed to open; an authentic voice, calling out to the cultured traveller that used to frequent these islands. Imagine a Bahamas freed from the hackneyed, stereotypical tropical vacation. We are more than just ‘get ya hair braid’, cheap T-shirts sporting Jamaican phrases, and free Jello shots, aren’t we?

What excited me the most about my job was watching incredible, untapped Bahamian creativity about to take flight. It was an astounding, unique experience, being surrounded by talented professionals, as well as the local graphic designers, painters, printmakers, apparel and jewellery designers, wood-workers, model boat-makers, photographers who all contributed their skills to the collection of retail merchandise. Not to mention those who found platforms on the property grounds, at “The Current”, Baha Mar’s own astounding art collective. This was one of Sarkis’s priorities, to preserve the precious existing culture we have and bring more Bahamian authenticity to life, by way of the up and coming generation. It was unprecedented. If anyone was lifting up and uniting the Bahamian people, this man was.

I am trying to stay positive. Trying to make sense of the turn of events leading to this point. Public Interest. Winding up. Liquidation. Protecting our ‘Sovereignty’. As if that word really means anything to this government.

Our diver looks down in horror and sees an empty pool.

I have always defended my country but I can’t anymore. I am ashamed to be Bahamian. Not that it matters; apparently most Members of Parliament do not recognise me as “true” Bahamian anyway. After all, I’m only a female in this archaic society, lucky to have a passport despite having a Bahamian family tree that goes back hundreds of years. Oh, and sorry, my dear children, you do not count here.

I want to end with a message of hope, but it’s not easy in a country where we accept murder, misogyny, corruption and pollution as the unapologetic norm. I wish I could recite our national motto with pride but now I just see it as a political farce. The Bahamas that my parents and grandparents spoke of so fondly is gone. Baha Mar seems like a dream now, a bright bubble of forward thinking in a country slowly sliding backwards.

So instead, I will end with a question that I can’t figure out.

Isn’t it ironic, when a “foreigner” fills you with national pride and hope, yet the alleged leaders of your nation fill you with shame and despondence?

JENNIFER MARBURY

Nassau,

September 7, 2015.

Comments

asiseeit 6 years, 8 months ago

Excellent letter and so true. This country needs to check itself in honest manner and see that it comes up short on most fronts.

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jus2cents 6 years, 8 months ago

"Isn’t it ironic, when a “foreigner” fills you with national pride and hope, yet the alleged leaders of your nation fill you with shame and despondence?"

Well said! YES it is Ironic and sad.

I hope the Country of The Bahamas and the young & talented Citizens of the Baha Mar nation stay positive and one day meet their full potential, I hope the Women of the Bahamas have equal rights to the men and I hope this all happens soon.

If everyone keeps speaking-out GOOD words like this, Good will eventually happen.

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asiseeit 6 years, 8 months ago

Just like the Disney video, this lady is speaking the TRUTH, to bad our politicians do not do the same!

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