CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 28, 2006)
Plans are afoot for a major facelift for Nevis’ major cultural festival Culturama. Minister of Culture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) the Honourable Hensley Daniel made the announcement recently on the heels of the recently concluded Culturama Festival earlier this month.
Mr. Daniel disclosed at a press conference at the Nevis Credit Union Conference Room in Charlestown recently, that the NIA would seek to introduce legislation in the near future that would allow for Culturama to be run as a statutory body and to be governed by a board of directors.
The move he explained would be in an effort to make the 32 year old Culturama Festival a less government subsidized and a more financially viable event. The Culture Minister said the time had come as well to seek to intertwine the festival with the island’s vibrant the tourism industry.
“It is left to a Committee to run Culturama and we [NIA] are of the view from a government standpoint, that we are shortly going to introduce legislation to incorporate Culturama and to make it a statutory body with a board with people who can help to market the festival some more, who can improve the financial management and who can look at developing activities during Culturama which would have the dual impact of giving expression to the culture and of generating some revenue.
“I think, given the way of the international community we have to think in terms of these things. As a government there is a heavy subvention which is provided we think Culturama has the potential to stand on its own so we want to give it some additional teeth, if you wish with legislation to make it into a statutory body,” he said.
According to Mr. Daniel, it was also the view of the Administration that Culturama ought to be the zenith of cultural activities on Nevis and as such there was the need to infuse some efforts into the community at the parish level.
He said there was also the need to give people a sense that they would help to develop and participate in cultural activities outside of the Culturama season, which would give expression to village and community festivals which would bind the communities.
The need to include the youth was another critical issue Mr. Daniel said, citing that it would be a necessary move to secure the sustainability of Culturama in the future.
“If we are going to sustain Culturama, we have to make a more strident effort to engage the young people in the festival so that the schools in the community particularly the secondary schools have to become far more engaged in Culturama, not just from a participatory point of view but Culturama must find its way in the discussion of social study it must find its way in the discussion of tourism it must find its way in the discussion of civics and so on, so that we get a greater appreciation for what we are doing.
“Also, I think we have to build the archives. There has to be some greater effort at documentation of what happened over the years. This is a festival which must be linked to our museums and the whole aspect of preservation and conservation. So we would like to spend some time, some effort some money in that regard so that we don’t just do the things for fun everything has a market value,” Mr. Daniel said.
According to the Culture Minister, Culturama had evolved over the years since its inception in 1974. He said that the festival had been designed by its founders, to give a vital thrust to what was perceived to be the dying traditional customs; to stimulate an interest in the birth of our cultural heritage; to create a climate in which indigenous folk art can reassert itself and flourish; to raise funds for the construction of a community centre which would serve as a base for the projection and cultural awareness programmes.
Meantime Mr. Antonyo Liburd, Executive Director of the Culturama Secretariat charged with implementing Culturama who was also present in retrospect described the 2005 Culturama festivals as being a success.
“Culturama 2006 in retrospect, in the Committee’s view, we had a very successful festival. When we speak in terms of success, we are not speaking in terms of financial success because festivals in the region are not known to make large sums of profits. When we speak of success, we look at the fact that we provided an environment in which local people could showcase their talent; we provided an avenue for young people to learn more about their cultural heritage and the fact that we provided an avenue for Nevis culture to be showcased.
“If we were to look at the financial side, not directly into the coffers of the Nevis Culturama Committee, we would recognize that we also provided an avenue for local entrepreneurs to make a lot of money and a tremendous amount of money was generated within the economy,” Mr. Liburd said.