Why Tourism is detrimental to our culture

And by tourism I don't mean the industry; I mean the Ministry.The main reason -- and I will have to wait to cool off for a little while before I write about it in earnest -- is that the Ministry of Tourism appears to have very little real respect for Bahamian cultural workers.Granted, in the past two years, the Ministry has bought into the idea of cultural tourism. But in so doing they commodify our culture. They have not, however, invested in any appreciative way in the things that they wish to promote. The government as a whole invests precious little of its overall budget on culture in general, but that's another story; it's getting better. But Tourism -- the Ministry, and the people who pull the Ministry's strings -- don't spend their money at home.This story, I don't mind telling you, angered me this morning. It angered me because you can't tell me that there aren't Bahamian professionals who are perfectly capable of making a documentary about The Bahamas -- or, if the point is to have the documentary made in Italian (I don't know why), of working along with Italians to make such a documentary. It angered me because it is one in a long line of such examples. I learned yesterday of a Bill to be placed before Parliament -- apparently -- whose purpose is to give film crews tax breaks to come to The Bahamas; were Bahamian filmmakers consulted? I read the beautiful insert placed in yesterday's Guardian by BahaMar which outlines the plans for Cable Beach -- plans which pay lip service to Bahamians and their culture but plans which are clearly more geared towards creating Las Vegas on New Providence, complete with international performers, than towards building our culture.The tourist industry does not have to be detrimental to our culture. But it is -- simply because, as usual, the people who make the decisions about our culture are overwhelmingly either not-Bahamian (Italian documentary crews, foreign hotel owners) or not-interested (how many of the Ministry of Tourism personnel who make decisions about cultural tourism etc have taken the trouble to expose themselves to the local cultural scene?).The time has come for a major change in the way we do business. I encourage everyone who reads this blog (all three of you) to go download the Draft Cultural Policy, and make your input. Because if we don't, we will be defined, occupied and sold by people who know nothing about us and care even less.