Categorized | National News

Discrimination Concerns Bahamian Architects

Black Bahamian architects are concerned about their careers because they don’t receive as many opportunities as their foreign counterparts, according to Principal of AR Concepts Michael Foster.

Mr. Foster, who is also a Bahamian architect, revealed this notion yesterday during Love 97’s daily radio talk show “Issues of The Day”.

“The distribution of work is unfair.   A small minority of architects gets the majority of opportunities and I think that is similar with other professions as well,” Mr. Foster said.

“Most of the architects of my hue seem to get less, very talented group of people.   They don’t get the opportunities and there is a reason for it. It’s the way our country is structured.  It is how projects come to the table and who sees them first.

“Then the persons they recommend these projects to, they don’t reach down to the greater population of architects.”

In their Speech from the Throne, the Free National Movement (FNM) outlined the redevelopment of downtown Nassau as one of the key objectives of the current administration over the next five years.

This is something that has been in the works for nearly 15 years, but still hasn’t gained any real traction.

Mr. Foster who was one of the key collaborators on this plan spoke to what has hindered the process.

“In 2005, five architects were brought together to work with a planning company (EDAW). What they come and do is they coagulate and bring everything together and separate the prejudices and the self-serving ideas of persons.

“I think along the way, there became this feeling that we should be paid. I was left alone, last man standing type of thing.

“A vicious rumor was spread that some PhD students that were brought in were being paid which was not true, but as a result, the architects and local engineers became despondent by this false bit of information and they kind of backed off,” Mr. Foster said.

Mr. Foster added that the initiative is greater than party politics as both the FNM and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have both realized the importance of this plan and its role in the development of the country moving forward.

“Both governments have endorsed this plan.  The development of the first stage was done by the Christie government. The execution of getting the shippers out there was done by the Ingraham government,” Mr. Foster said.

“The living city district sought to bring back to downtown people.  People create economic activity, so the idea was how do we maximize the development of this area?”

In 2003, the government appointed a Nassau Economic Development Commission under the bi-partisan leadership of former parliamentarians George Mackey and Norman Solomon, both now deceased.

The commission’s role was to lay a foundation for the long-term redevelopment of the city. It also helped to oversee a master planning exercise by an international firm of designers (EDAW) hired by the government.

The commission morphed into the Downtown Revitalization Committee in 2007, and the downtown Nassau partnership took over from this ad hoc government committee in 2009.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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