BY FRED STURRUP | GB News Editor | [email protected]
There is an area in Florida now entitled, officially, “Little Bahamas.”
Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and portions of the 1930s and 1960s, The Bahamas and the United States engaged in a joint project which enabled Bahamian men (mostly) and women to travel to the latter country for the purpose of farm work.
Historically, the program has been referred to as the “Contract” or the “Project.” Because most of the Bahamian farm workers were provided jobs by owners in Florida, there was a great blending of humanity and cultures in that state.
Many of the men, and some of the women, were part of the farming project for decades, and ended up establishing families.Thus, South Florida, in particular, became heavily Bahamian-influenced. The Coconut Grove area is one of the hotbeds of the Bahamian connection. Recently, the City Commision of the City of Miami recognized the significant Bahamian contribution to the development of South Florida.
The City Commission proclaimed that: Whereas, the area in the South East portion of the City of Miami, is the cultural heart for the Bahamian Community; and Whereas the historically Bahamian Community has enriched Miami-Dade County’s multi-ethnic character as a whole; andWhereas Little Havana and Little Haiti have been recognized for their cultural heritage and importance to the community; andWhereas, other historic areas within the City of Miami have been identified for their importance to their respective communities; and Whereas, the Miami City Commission wishes to designate the area described in Exhibit “A,” and incorporated as “Little Bahamas of Coconut Grove”, in recognition of the historical and cultural importance of the area;Now, therefore, be it (so) resolved by the Commission of the City of Miami, Florida.
This development, a special honor bestowed on our country, comes on the heels of another major historical interaction between entities of the two countries, namely Grand Bahama and Florida. Two weeks ago, the Hon. Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism and Aviation in The Bahamas, announced the purchase of the Grand Lucayan Properties in Grand Bahama by the Electra America Hospitality Group for $100 million. Electra is a Florida-based company. The Bahamas-Florida connection is indeed ongoing and vibrant. Accordingly, this is yet another plank from which Minister Cooper can advance aspects of our tourism industry.