A small Memory of the World Committee has been set up in The Bahamas and consists of Bahamian experts in the field of documentary heritage, Minister of Education the Hon. Carl Bethel said, on October 15, 2008.
“The national committee plans to establish a national register, which would not only help to preserve the heritage for future generations of Bahamians; but will also expose Bahamian heritage to others who have an interest in such information,” he said.
Minister Bethel was speaking at the Opening Ceremony for the 9th Meeting of the Memory of the World Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (MOWLAC), at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Cable Beach.
Among the senior Government officials and stakeholders in attendance were Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Elma Garraway; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Archie Nairn; Chairman of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC), Dr. Davidson Hepburn; AMMC Director, Dr. Keith Tinker and Chairman of the Bahamas National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the Hon. Theresa Moxey Ingraham.
The Memory of the World Regional Committee comprises world-renowned experts from Latin America and the Caribbean region, serving on the basis of their experience, expertise and achievement in the field of preservation of and access to documentary heritage on the national and international levels.
The small Bahamian committee is comprised of Director of Archives, Elaine Toote; Assistant Director of Archives, Patrice M. Williams; Chief Archivist, Sherriley Strachan; Head of Public Library System, Dorcas Bowler and Director General of Heritage Dr. Gail Saunders.
Minister Bethel said he was happy to report that Dr. Saunders also represented The Bahamas on the committee and attended its 8th Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year.
He added that she “compiled a nomination of the Farquharson Journal, a diary handwritten by Charles Farquharson, planter and owner of the Prospect Hill Plantation, located on the east side of Watlings Island (now San Salvador)”.
“It is a journal that recorded the day-to-day happenings on the plantation, from the 1st of January, 1831 to the 31st of December, 1832,” Minister Bethel said. “Charles Farquharson’s manuscript is unique and proves to be an ‘invaluable insight into the daily life of Bahamian Out Island slave society, on the eve of Emancipation’ and is the only slave plantation journal that has, so far, been discovered in The Bahamas.”
Dr. Saunders, he said, also collaborated with her Caribbean colleagues on a Regional nomination for the UNESCO Memory of the World on Slave Registers, to be included in a regional nomination by submitting detailed information on The Bahamas’ Slave Registers, which gave “fascinating” detail about the demography of the slave population.