Historical connection

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Crab and Rice


4 crabs

2 tablespoons vinegar in 2 cups of water

1 tablespoon cooking oil

3 strips of bacon or 50 grams pork, chopped

Chopped accent and thyme

Salt, pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Half a small sweet pepper

2 ½ cups water

2 cups rice


1 Clean the crabs and remove the fat. Place crab bodies and fat in separate bowls.

2 Use the vinegar and water to wash the bodies of the crabs.

3 In a saucepan, heat the cooking oil. Add the bacon or pork, stirring occasionally until brown.

4 Add herbs and cook until meat is tender.

5 Add crab fat, cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

6 All crab bodies. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

7 Add the tomato paste. Stir and cook for a further 2 minutes.

8 Add water. Season to taste. Bring to the boil.

9 Add rice. Stir, reduce the heat and cook for 30 – 35 minutes or until rice is tender.

Note: The amount of water needed may vary depending on the type of rice used.

Chapter 7 Immigration from other parts of the world

Mosko Papa George Wong

Chea Pierre

Where did these names come from?

How do they fit into our society?

People have come to live in our islands from all over the world. Most came because they were looking for a better way of life.

Many Greek people came to our islands to work in the sponge industry. The sponge industry was started in 1841. Sponge was gathered with iron hooks attached to a pole in a kraal. They were allowed to soak in the kraal for a few days then taken out and beaten with sticks to remove the outer covering and then scraped to clean.

After cleaning they were weighed and prepared for export to Paris in France. This was a lucrative business until disease attacked the sponge beds in 1938. When the industry failed, the workers found other work – some of them set up restaurants. Their descendants have names like Maillis, Psilinakis and Mosko.

Chinese people started arriving in The Bahamas during the early 1940s, when there was a change of government in China. People were not as free as before and so some Chinese people came to The Bahamas to find freedom. The Chinese in our community own and operate restaurants, furniture stores, food stores and laundries. Some Chinese names are Chea, Wong, Tai, Lee, Ching and Lim.

Workers from other parts of the Caribbean came to The Bahamas seeking better opportunities. They came from Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana. Police and prison offices, nurses and teachers have been recruited from other Caribbean countries to assist us in The Bahamas.

Other large groups of people who left their country and settled in The Bahamas were from the Turks and Caicos islands. They came because they were not able to earn much money in their country.

The latest and largest group to come to The Bahamas are the Haitians. They left their country because they felt they were treated unfairly, and there were few jobs for them. They first arrived here in the early 1960s and have been coming ever since. So many have come here that The Bahamas has not been able to take all of them. Many are returned to Haiti, but they would still prefer to be here, or to go to America. The Haitians are hard-working people. Newcomers work as tailors, gardeners and labourers. Early Haitian settlers are now lawyers and business people in our community.

Chapter 8 Our Government since Independence

The Bahamas has had a Parliament since 1729. For centuries , The Bahamas was a British colony and although the House of Assembly could suggest how the country should be run, all laws had to be approved by Britain.

The Bahamas finally became an independent nation, the people on 10th July 1973. Now, as an independent nation, the people of The Bahamas make their own laws.

Today everyone in The Bahamas over the age of 18 has the right to vote. We vote to elect people who will represent us in the House of Assembly. Until 1958, however, voters had to own property, be aged at least 21 – and male. Women did not win the vote until 1962, after a long, hard struggle for equality with the men.

The diagram below shows the structure of our Parliament today.


The Queen


The Queen’s Representative



Prime Minister OPPOSITION





Although The Bahamas is an independent country, Queen Elizabeth is still our Head of State. Her representative in The Bahamas is called the Governor-General. The Queen no longer has the power to make laws in The Bahamas, but she – or the Governor-General - still signs every Law that is passed in our Parliament.

There are two parts, or chambers, of Parliament. Currently there are 49 members of the House of Assembly who are the Members of Parliament (MPs) elect4ed by the people in a general election. You will learn more about elections in Book 6.

The other chamber in Parliament is the Senate. The members of the Senate – Senators – are appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

A general election is held every five years. In an election, people choose their representative from the different political parties. Each party has its own ideas about how the country should be run.

The party that wins most seats in the House of Assembly forms the Government. The Leader of the winning party becomes the Prime Minister. The party with fewer seats is the opposition Party, headed by the Leader of the Opposition.

This form of government is called a democracy. The way our country is run is set out in a special document called The Constitution.

The main purpose of government is to pass laws so that the country can function well. The wording of any law is discussed first in the House of Assembly, and then in the Senate. Each law is looked at in detail by two sets people. This ensures that the law is as flawless as it can be, and that it is stated as clearly as possible. Only when both chambers have discussed and agreed on the new law, and it has been signed by the Governor-General, does it actually come in to effect.

It is through the laws of the land that the rights of all citizens are protected. Our laws are enforced by the police and by the law courts.

Theme Two


Chapter 9 Our country’s development

When The Bahamas became an independent nation in 1973, our government took an many new responsibilities. The government tries to ensure that all Bahamian people

  • can earn a living, and

  • enjoy freedom and safety.

The economy of a country is the way in which it manages its resources, and how its people earn and spend money. It was important when The Bahamas became independent that everyone in our islands should be employed.

Full employment is a sign of a strong economy. When people are employed, they earn money and can afford to buy better food and clothing, improve their houses, pay for electricity, telephone and water, and perhaps even buy cars and televisions. They also pay taxes, which means the government has more money to provide better services in the community, such as:

  • schools

  • health care and protection

  • water and electricity services

  • transport and communications facilities.

These are all important in the development of our country. They mean that the people can enjoy a higher standard of living.

Improving facilities

In our country, great demands are made on electrical and water supplies, both by Bahamians and by visitors. New Providence has a limited source of water, and was in urgent need of a better supply. Andros, the largest island in The Bahamas, has a much smaller population and more water than New Providence. A plan was drawn up to transfer water from Andros to New Providence.

  • Look for Arawak Cay on the lower map on p.11 of your atlas.

  • How does the water get to Arawak Cay?

  • Find out where the wells are in Andros.

  • Why do you think this project was so expensive?

Loans for development

Such a large plan requires a lot of money. The Bahamian government applied to the Caribbean Development Bank for help. The water project was accepted, and The Bahamas was granted a loan. This loan was important to The Bahamas because conditions laid down by the Caribbean Development Bank meant that the government has a longer time to repay the loan, at a lower rate of interest, than if the money had come from a foreign bank.

Loans are also needed in The Bahamas to pay for special skills. The industrial Training Centre provides such training for young people who want to become welders, mechanics, carpenters or dressmakers, or to acquire such skills. Training centres like these have been set up in The Bahamas using loans from the World Bank. This is a special bank based in Washington DC, which lends money for development. A country is given 20 years by the World Bank to repay a loan.

Increasing our food supplies

Even though the population of The Bahamas is growing steadily, we must be able to feed everyone. Bahamian farmers and fishermen cannot produce enough to feed us and our visitors, so most of our food has to be imported from other countries. To increase our local food supplies we need money to develop farmland, crops and livestock, and to train people to have special skills and knowledge.

The government successfully applied to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is an agency of the United Nations, for help with training and the development of facilities. New facilities were added to the agricultural station at Gladstone Road in New Providence, which is now called the Gladstone Road Agricultural Complex. Bahamians train here to teach local farmers how to produce more from their land. Experiments are being carried out to find ways of increasing the production and improving the preservation and distribution of food.

Developing our skills

Other countries help us by lending money. They also help us to develop our skills in other ways:

  • Once a bank has lent money for a project, it may send people with special skills – specialists – to help supervise the project. While they are here these specialists pass on their skills to Bahamians.

  • Bahamians may be offered special awards, or scholarships, to learn new skills in another country.

  • The World Bank awards loans that allow Bahamian teachers to be trained in special skills.

  • Doctors and nurses come from other countries to work in our hospitals, and to train Bahamians to take over their jobs when they return to their own country.

  • A special apprenticeship scheme has been set up by the government for grade 12 students. They are attached to various government programmes so that they can learn a trade.

Chapter 10 Defending our boundaries

The sea separates us from our neighbours, the United States of America (USA) and Cuba. The governments of The Bahamas and these countries have each agreed that their territorial boundaries will extend to 19 kilometres from their coastlines. This means that The Bahamas has a right to project all the waters within 19 km of those islands that lie furthest north, south, east and west. These are our territorial waters.

The Bahamas defends its boundaries for several reasons. These include:

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force patrols the waters within our territorial boundaries. It apprehends poachers of marine life, smugglers of drugs and aliens. It also intercepts ship found polluting the waters. The Defence Force also assists in the enforcement of order along with relief in times of disaster.


Our waters are rich in fish and shellfish, which are important sources of food in The Bahamas. Fishermen from other countries often try to catch fish in Bahamian waters. They are poachers. Ships from the Defence Force such as HMBS Marlin and HMBS Flamingo patrol the waters around the Great and Little Bahamas Banks to prevent poaching.

If foreign fishermen are caught in our waters, they are arrested and taken to Nassau. Their catch is taken away from them, or confiscated. They are put on trial and, if they are found guilty of poaching, they must pay a fine and may spend time in prison.

Drug smuggling

Only about 100 kilometres of water separate the northern Bahamas from the USA, and many drug smugglers try to send drugs from South America through The Bahamas to Florida. On the Family Islands there are many small airports which can be used by small planes to land the drugs. It is difficult for the police and other law enforcement officers in The Bahamas to protect all our boundaries.

The USA helps The Bahamas by providing helicopters, fast boats, and people from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who work with the Bahamian police and Defence Force. Together they try to stop the drug smugglers.

A new system has been developed to try to stop the smugglers. Two special balloons, called radar balloons, have been floated 450 metres in the air at High Rock on Grand Bahama, and George Town in Exuma. These balloons carry special instruments which enable people on the ground to detect boats or planes up to 300 kilometres away. If any boat is suspected of drug smuggling, it can be tracked, chased and caught. Anyone who is found guilty of drug smuggling faces a heavy fine, and is usually imprisoned.

Illegal immigrants

Sometimes people from other countries try to enter The Bahamas without official permission. Some are trying to reach the USA, others are looking for work in The Bahamas. Most of these illegal immigrants come to our island by boat. If any such boats are found in our waters, they are stopped and the passengers are sent back to sea, beyond our boundaries.

If the boats are in too poor a condition to put back to sea they are brought in to Nassau. The people on board are deported to their own country – as soon as possible. Many illegal immigrants in The Bahamas come from nearby Haiti.

It is important that all Bahamians help to defend our boundaries. We want our country to be a safe place, and one that tourists will enjoy visiting.

Chapter 11 Hurricane warning!

Betsy, David, Donna – mention these names, and older Bahamians will tell you of the hurricanes they remember because of the damage they did in our islands. In one year all the hurricanes are given male names; the next year they are given female names.

Early explorers and the missionaries who came to the Caribbean were told by the people they found here of great storms. They described torrential rainstorms and winds so violent that even the strongest man could not stand upright. Enormous waves destroyed whatever the winds and rain left behind. Every year storms like these kill people, uproot trees and often destroy buildings and property worth billions of dollars.

Storms affecting this part of the world are described in different ways according to the speed to the wind.

Type of storm Wind speeds (per hour)

Tropical disturbance

Tropical depression up to 85 km

Tropical storm 89 – 119 km

Hurricane 120 km and over

The wind speeds also affect the storm tide, which is the height of the tide above its normal level.

Hurricanes form far out in the Atlantic, and move quickly westwards across the ocean. The Bahamas islands lie in the path of some storms. The official hurricane season is from June to November, but hurricanes sometimes develop in other months.

The people who record and identify the weather pattern are called meteorologists. They study the weather every day, and give information to the public by daily weather forecasts issued on radio, on television and in the newspapers.

Our meteorological department, or Met Office, cooperates with the National Hurricane Centre in Coral Gables, Florida, which is in close contact with other Met Offices in the Caribbean. Together the networking Met Offices make sure that we receive early warning of any approaching storms. They use modern computer equipment to provide accurate information.

We should always listen carefully to news broadcasts and be prepared to follow instructions promptly when a storm is approaching. Here are some terms you should know:


An area in the Bahamas might be affected by storm

conditions within 60 hours.

Some parts of The Bahamas may experience storm or

hurricane conditions with 36 hours.

A hurricane of storm is expected within 24 hours.

At the beginning of the hurricane season, make sure you have emergency supplies in your home as shown below.

When a hurricane alert is announced, you should make the following preparations:

  • Check emergency supplies.

When a hurricane watch is notified for your area:

  • Pay close attention to official announcements on the radio and television.

  • Fix hurricane shutters to windows on upper floors of multi-floor buildings. Keep the shutters for the ground-floor windows nearby.

  • Secure garbage cans, outdoor furniture and other loose items.

  • Take down television and radio antennae, and satellite dishes.

  • Clean and fill bath tubs and any spare containers with water.

When a hurricane warning is issued:

  • Fix hurricane shutters to all remaining windows.

  • Listen to all hurricane warnings on ZNS and other radio stations, and follow any advice given.

  • Seek refuge in a special shelter if your home is unsafe.

During the hurricane:


After the hurricane:

  • Seek medical care for anyone injured in the storm.

  • Avoid loose dangling wires. Report any you see to The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).

  • Check the food in the refrigerator. Throw away any that has spoiled.

  • Stay away from disaster areas.

  • Remove shutters and store them for future use.

  • Boil water before drinking. It may be contaminated (not clean).

Many organizations do special work before, during and after a hurricane to ensure people’s safety. Some of these are:

  • Bahamas Electricity Corporation

  • Bahamas Red Cross

  • Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (Batelco)

  • Meteorological Department

  • Ministry of Health

  • Ministry of Works

  • Royal Bahamas Defence Force

  • Royal Bahamas Police Force

  • ZNS Radio.

Most of these groups are represented in The Bahamas National Disaster Organization Committee. The committee meets before the hurricane season starts, and plans what is to be done if a hurricane should strike The Bahamas. The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) and CB operators also help the work of this committee.

Chapter 12 Our trading partners

All countries must have something to sell in order to buy or import those things they need

but cannot produce themselves. If they have too much of anything, they can export it. The buying

and selling of goods is called trade. Some examples are given below.

In The Bahamas we are not able to manufacture or make much for export. Instead we sell our

services to the world – tourism, and banking. The USA is our main export market. Because The Bahamas

is close to the USA, which has a large population, many Americans use our services. In return, The

Bahamas imports many of those products it needs from the USA. So we are trading partners.

After tourism, the second most important service ‘exported by’ The Bahamas is its banking

services. Almost all of the major international banks have an office in The Bahamas. They bring income

to The Bahamas. What are the ways The Bahamas earns money by its banking services?

One export that is special to The Bahamas is cascarilla bark, which is used in making a drink

called Campari ( a kind of rum). Other items for export can be just the first stage in a manufacturing


Graph showing the value of some Bahamian exports.

Examples of products traded by The Bahamas

Exports Imports

aragonite lumber

crude oil steel

salt asphalt

cascarilla bark gasoline

straw work food

We import many of the items we need from the USA, which has plenty of natural resources,

raw materials, and labour to make manufactured goods. But we also buy goods from many other

countries, including Japan, Brazil, Canada, Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia. Most of the

cars on our streets were made in Japan or the USA. Much of the food that we eat comes from the USA

and Canada. We also trade with a number of other Caricom countries (see Chapter 14).

Chapter 13 Higher education for Bahamians

Most than 2000 students attend the College of The Bahamas in Oakes Field, New Providence,

and in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Many of them go there after they have graduated from high school – they are young, and eager to learn special skills before they join the country’s workforce.

Students can obtain a degree in Education, Business Administration, Nursing or in Agriculture Science:

Education: Students are trained as teachers over four years. This includes learning how to teach their subjects.

Nursing: Students are trained in the basic skills in nursing, midwifery and first aid.

Business Students are trained how to manage and set up a business, balance books,

Administration: and other managerial skills.
Agricultural Students are trained in the care and management of soil, crops,

Science: planting seasons, irrigation, and fertilization.

Other students are adults who are already employed or who run their own businesses, and

some come from other countries to study here. This higher education will help them to do their jobs better and to earn a higher wage.

The Bahamas government knows that higher education is important because the country needs a well-trained workforce to do the jobs in a developing country. Many students do well at school, but not everyone has the money to pay for higher education. So the government helps by paying some of the fees for students to study at the College of The Bahamas, or abroad.

Many graduates of our high schools and the College of The Bahamas go abroad for higher education. This is important because we are a small country and do not have all the resources we need for a complete education. For example, students who want a career in medicine, agriculture, teaching or law usually go to the University of the West Indies. The main campus of this university is in Mona, Jamaica, but there are also campuses in Trinidad and Barbados.

Students from the other Caribbean countries who are seeking higher education in tourism and hotel management may attend the Hotel Training School, which is part of the College of The Bahamas. When you leave high school you might want to become a manager of one of our large hotels. If you do, you can study for a degree on the C.O.B. campus.

Business and other organizations, both in the country and abroad, help too. They provide scholarships to help some students to get a higher education. Students who are given such help are usually expected to return to The Bahamas to work for a given length of time.

If you want to go on to higher education, either in The Bahamas or abroad, you need to do well at your primary and secondary schools. Students who read many books develop good study habits. Good students listen to their teachers and parents, and do not spent all their free time watching television. It is important to learn all you can while you are in primary school. This is the first step towards a higher education.

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