What is cultural maintenance and can it fortify the future for young Bahamians?



YOUTH Ambassador Jervon Sands writes the first in a series of articles speaking to young Bahamians, talking about issues that affect the country. He starts by looking at the idea of cultural maintenance - and what that means for Bahamians. 

First, what is meant by cultural maintenance? This phrase has been rattling around in my head for some time now - allowing the following definition to develop. Cultural maintenance is the practice of a people, to nourish and make flourish that which has been established by nation building thereby supporting cultural evolution and innovations that benefit future generations.

I fear that the stance of the Bahamian people post independence has mostly been one of premature satisfaction. It is only now, with the advent of adverse national and international conditions amplified by a rapidly warming climate, that many of us are awakening to the troubling realities threatening our nation. The creation story cautions against doing great work without any rest yet further engaging with the Bible text eventually reveals its antithesis: “Faith without works is dead.” In other words, resting always on faith without doing any work. Evidence of how Bahamian society subscribes to this way of being lies in the strong sense of faith and security afforded us by nation builders. This was on full display during last year’s Independence celebrations. And, yes, our nation builders are owed much praise, but simply celebrating their legacies without working to carry them on is not only a poor way to honour them, but also a sure way to squander their foundational efforts to build a better Bahamas.

In Bahamian society today there has been a notable shift towards a culture of death. The climbing crime rate, growing economic disparity, mounting reports of gruesome fatalities, and alarming climate change catastrophes, collectively corroborate that unfortunate truth. These realities confirm that our culture, our heritage, our nation are crumbling. They have become dilapidated and are riddled with hazards stemming from structural irregularities in key pillars such as youth, education, and innovation.

Nevertheless, hope remains a catalyst for change. Local and global youth movements have the potential to retrofit and revive our nation by engaging young people in the practice of cultural maintenance. Already, there are young Bahamian professionals eager to flood our society with fresh ideas and positive impacts that will help us overcome the present and coming challenges with our culture not only intact but stronger and better than ever before. I will be sharing perspectives from the following young Bahamian professionals in subsequent articles as I further explore the theme of cultural maintenance and its potential for positive impact on Bahamian society.

Liam Miller: A young Bahamian economist who aims to innovate at the nexus of economic development and climate justice.

Ashawnte Russell: A youth climate activist currently engaged in climate advocacy who works to integrate the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean into global climate response.

Taylor Cargill: A 22-year-old conservation scientist whose passions lie in coastal and marine conservation, and in addressing intersectional climate justice issues.

Erinique Johnson: A budding HR professional who is also an active youth leader within several Bahamian organisations that address issues of social and political significance.

Please connect with these young Bahamian professionals via Linkedin if you have an interest in their work or would like to provide opportunities for them to continue strengthening The Bahamas within their respective fields.

• Jervon Sands is one of the current Bahamian youth climate ambassadors. He aims to connect and engage Bahamian youth innovating in the climate space.


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