April 10, 2012
New Park and Recreation agency to offer socialization alternatives to all Bahamians
Nassau, April 10, 2012--The creation of a Parks and Recreation Authority is a step recently announced by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. The initiative is designed to offer safe spaces where Bahamians can congregate to pass time in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
This was evident at the FNM’s Red Splash event on April 9th where thousands of supporters were able to enjoy the newly refurbished Montagu Seaside Park.
The Parks and Recreation Authority would operate independently, like the Straw Market and Sports Authority. The management of historic sites such as forts and the conservation parks and protected marine sites included in our National Park System managed by the National Trust will not be included as a part of the mandate of the new Authority.
“The Parks and Recreation Authority will be responsible for the maintenance and running of neighbourhood, community, beach parks, open green spaces and roadside verges throughout New Providence,” said the PM. To enhance Park safety we will systematically install Closed Circuit Television. The parks will feature the creativity of Bahamian artists through the Public Arts Project.
The new Authority will have a broader mandate than keeping these parks – clean, green and pristine. They will be able to enter into public-private partnerships with churches, neighbourhood groups and corporate citizens to facilitate family and youth programmes in areas such as fitness and wellness, sports and athletics, and the arts and environmental awareness.
One area of focus is on encouraging traditional Bahamian play and games with areas reserved for children to shoot marbles, spin tops, kite flying, ring play and hopscotch. There will also be areas where retired seniors can gather to talk, exercise or play dominoes or chess. Young people should be able to gather in a safe park environment for poetry jams, step competitions and other life-affirming measures.
“We must demonstrate the tough-mindedness to defeat hardened criminals and to discourage potential criminals,” said Ingraham, adding that “we must also have the nurturing spirit which will provide our young people with alternatives to violence and criminal enterprise.” The aim is to control bad behaviours and support good ones so that the mindset of the minority who seek to harm our way of life can be changes.