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Government finally announces plans to move on Eleuthera's Historic Preacher's Cave preservation
Preacher's Cave is where the first English Settlers of The Bahamas - The Shipwrecked Eleutheran Adventurers, sought shelter in 1647.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Charles Maynard announced at a town meeting in North Eleuthera, on Thursday evening, August 18th, 2011, that the government was finally ready to move forward with declaring the Preacher's Cave site a National Historic/Heritage Park. With the Bahamas poised to sign on to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, shortly before current bahamian president of UNESCO, Dr. Davidson Hepburn completes his tenure in October of this year, Maynard shared, "Its been long in coming, but it will be very, very soon."
Inside of Preacher's Cave, North Eleuthera, the first English settlers of The Bahamas, The Eleutheran Adventurers, took refuge.
Jock Morgan, Chairman of the North Eleuthera Historical Society (NEHS) - a committed group of individuals who were involved with the Preacher's Cave site since 1991, spoke with The Eleutheran in 2008 about efforts having come to a standstill at that time. According to the Chairman, plans had been prepared, inclusive of a caretaker's house, a museum, vendor shops, cabanas along the beach, bathrooms with showers and wood walks for bird watching - which in 2008 were, "laying under dust".
Mr. Jock Morgan of the North Eleuthera Historical Society, a resident of Spanish Wells, has been very passionate for many years about the preservation and recognition of the historical significance of Preacher's Cave in the heart of North Eleuthera.
Many artifacts which go back to prehistoric days have been found associated with the native Lucayans, and from the time of the Eleutheran Adventurers, the first English settlers of the Bahamas, who landed in 1647. The site, according to Mr. Morgan had been proven to be the original home of the Eleutheran Adventurers. In 2008 he was quoted as saying, "There was much skepticism about where it was and where it wasn't, but due to a number of the artifacts found, linked with that period, we've finally been able to say that this (Preacher's Cave) is where the shipwrecked adventurers sought shelter. In the past 4-5 years, at least 4 achaeological trips have been conducted."
Speakers during the town meeting included Mr. Richard Johnson Chairman of the Commonage Committee; Mr. Jock Morgan, Chairman of the North Eleuthera Historical Society; Hon. Alvin Smith, M.P., Speaker of the House; and Charles Maynard, M.P., Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture. The meeting was moderated by Mr. Michael Pateman, Sr. Assistant Archaeologist, Antiquities Corporation (AMMC).
A wide cross-section of Eleutherans were represented, hailing from North, Central and South Eleuthera. Additionally, Eleutherans such as M.P. Ryan Pinder (2nd from left, Front) , who is resident in New Providence, travelled to participate in the important meeting.
Key persons in attendance were: North Eleuthera Administrator, Preston Cunningham; Ryan Pinder, MP for Elizabeth Constituency; Charity Ambrister, Director of MOT Southern Bahamas; Jacqueline Gibson, MOT Eleuthera; Shaun Ingraham, One Eleuthera; Ian Carey, President of Rotary and his team; Bishop Chrestwell Cash of Lower Bogue; David Ambrister, Deputy Chief Councilor North Eleuthera District Council and fellow councilors; Abner Pinder, Former Chief Councilor Spanish Wells; Dr. Jane Day, Historian; Lynn Gape, Bahamas National Trust; Camilla Adair, Bahamas National Trust; Roderick Pinder, Chairman of the Governor's Harbour Historical Society; and Juanita Pinder, President, Eleuthera Branch of the Cancer Society of the Bahamas.
Minister Maynard, in his presentation to the local public began by emphasizing the significance of Preacher's Cave - comparing it to the Clifton Heritage Park site in New Providence, saying, "Preacher's Cave has more historical significance than the Clifton Park area by far, that's the reality."
He continued, forecasting the impact for communities surrounding Preacher's Cave and the wider Bahamas, "This is something that's going to have tremendous benefit for Eleuthera and for the Bahamas in terms not only of the economic engine that it could be, but also the historical value of it for future generations of Bahamians - to learn our history." Also commenting on the tourism impact he stated, "from the economic engine standpoint, this development if properly done, could bring a whole new dimension to Eleuthera's tourism product."
(L-R) Mr. Michael Pateman, Antiquities Corporation; Hon. Charles Maynard, Min. of Youth, Sports & Culture; Hon. Alvin Smith, Speaker of the House; Mr. Jock Morgan, Chairman North Eleuthera Historical Society; and Mr. Richard Johnson Chairman Commonage Committee.
The Management of the proposed National Park, according to Maynard will be a wide partnership; between the Antiquities Corporation, represented on the evening by Mr. Michael Pateman; the Harbour Island Commonage Committee, represented by Chairman, Richard Johnson during the discussion; the North Eleuthera Historical Society, spearheaded by Mr. Jock Morgan; and the Bahamas National Trust, which had representatives, Lynn Gape, and Camilla Adair in attendance.