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The Rewind Ep. 5-6: The Orange Economy

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In episodes 5 & 6 of The Rewind – an Our News Digital Podcast – hosts Jasmine Lundy and Jhanae Winter explore the Orange Economy with Artist Jodi Minnis, and Creative Art Director of Baha Mar, John Cox.



NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In episode five of The Rewind – an Our News Digital Podcast – hosts Jasmine Lundy and Jhanae Winter explore the Orange Economy with Artists Jodi Minnis, and Creative Art Director of Baha Mar, John Cox.

To watch, click the video blow.

The Orange Economy

Although the orange economy has been around for centuries, the term has just recently started gaining traction in the country. 

The orange economy, also known as the creative economy,  is a production model where goods and services have intellectual value because they are the product of the ideas and expertise of their creators.

 There are several categories of work that fall under the Orange Economy such as:

  • Design and Visual Arts – e.g. Painting, sculptures, photography, and fashion.

 In this category we have artists like world renowned photographer Stanley Babb who photographs celebrities such Portia Smith, Naturi Naughton, and rapper, Trina. 

In addition, we have artists like Jammal Rolle who drew images of Bahamian icons such as Sir Sidney Poiter, Buddy Hield, Shaunae Miller-Ubio.

  • Tourism and cultural heritage -e.g. Junkanoo, tours of historical sites. 
  • New Media and software  – e.g. Creating websites, graphics
  • Performing arts -e.g  Theatre, Songwriting 

In this area you’ll find Bahamian Musicians like Ronny Butler, and Tony McKay who wrote the chilling song Exuma, The Obeah Man which was featured in a recent American film that was written and produced by Oscar and Emmy winner Jordan Peele.

  • Literary Arts and Publication e.g Writing books etc. 

Education X The Creative Economy 

The creative economy has always been intertwined within education, however, more must be done to improve our educational system and prepare students for a life within the industry. 

 An intellectual piece was written by Dr. Ian Bethell Bennett in 2017 explaining why there seems to be a brain drain in regards to education and the orange economy. 

Bethel says: 

We need investment in education, but not the education of rote and rhyme, but the education of the future where we learn how to do things and how to empower our people. Why would employers from abroad not look to the country for employees and the next generation of thinkers, doers and creators?  Perhaps they do, but we wash our hands of them before they even get to the point where they can be great at anything.  This requires some unpacking.

Many extremely successful Bahamians have left the country early in life because they faced huge hurdles and great obstacles to their development, perhaps because they were not linear thinkers, perhaps because they were imaginary-visionary, had another kind of gift, had different ideas, they sought out other opportunities. For sure, The Bahamas produces great thinkers, but many of them leave. They become top thinkers and doers in world-renown spaces, but when asked to return, they are often stifled, and leave once more.” 

This think-piece sheds light on the disturbing reality that there are major faults within our education system. However, as of recently the government and other entities have been pushing initiatives to foster educational growth within the orange economy. 

Progressing The Orange Economy 

In 2022, The Bahamas Bahamas Development Bank launched  a $70,000 technology micro-grant program aimed to equip creatives with a Macbook pro, to improve the quality of their productions through the Orange Economy Technology Micro Grant.

According to the BDB, their goals are to do the following:

  • Create employment
  • Reduce imports and increase exports 
  • Promote prosperity for all Bahamians 
  • Utilize Bahamian materials & resources 
  • Introduce new technology & skills

With these objectives in mind, 13 men and 13 women were selected to receive a Macbook Pro to enhance the quality of their work. The main eligibility criteria of the grant were three years minimum in the business which should be at least 60 percent owned by the applicant.  

As for the government, plans were put in place to enhance the Orange Economy.

In the Davis administration’s Blueprint for Change, several main initiatives were mentioned such as:

  • A plan to provide educational and training resources in Bahamian creative industries.
  • A goal to establish a tertiary School of Visual, Performing and Recording Arts through public private partnership.
  • A plan to incentivize creatives to obtain intellectual property for their creations and to negotiate contracts with international distribution platforms. This falls under Patents, trademark, copyrights, and trade secrets.

Among other plans. 

In addition to the government’s future plans,  The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute announced it will be hosting an art classes this year with international artist, Antonius Roberts to encourage students to explore the ‘orange economy’.

Although students are being incrementally introduced to more of the orange economy, it is also crucial that they are taught how to protect their works as said by John Cox. 

Knowing the in’s and out’s of intellectual property is vital to the success of artists. Intellectual property includes the following:

Copyright – A type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. 

Infringement – The action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation.

Trade Secret – A secret device or technique used by a company in manufacturing its products.

A patent  – An intellectual property right to protect inventions, granted by a country’s government as a territorial right for a limited period  

Trademark –  A sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.

It is the opinion of the author that students should be taught the legal aspects of the orange economy in public and private schools while learning their crafts.

By doing this, this protects both the artist and their work from being exploited and better prepares the artist for international exposure.

For more on this topic, watch part II of The Rewind: The Orange Economy.

Look out for the newest episode of The Rewind, dropping the last Sunday of next month on the Our News Bahamas’ YouTube channel.