Charlestown, Nevis (March 20, 2007)
Works are ongoing for the provision of a local craft display area in Charlestown. Minister of Agriculture the Hon. Robelto Hector made the disclosure on Friday March 16, 2007 at the Gingerland Primary School, at the end of Basketry and Pottery workshops for students hosted by the Cooperatives Division in Nevis.
“Shortly, with some help from the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, and the Cooperatives Division, I am trying to get an area, some of you know it as the old Cemetery, where we can make space available for you [students] or persons in craft to display their crafts. So persons who are a part of that industry to be able to make a dollar as we say, when we have tourists visiting our shores,” he said.
The workshops which were held simultaneously at the Gingerland Primary School and at the Pottery at Newcastle targeted the Gingerland Primary School’s students grade 4-6 and Gingerland Secondary School students respectively. The basketry workshop was facilitated by Mrs. Iona Rogers while Potters Mrs. Almena Cornelius and Miss Lorna Sutton facilitated the Pottery segment.
Mr. Hector said he was pleased to see the passage of skills from one generation to another and urged the students present to continue to developed their new found skills, keep learning and to understand the craft with the intention of entertaining future businesses in craft production.
“Your product today, is just one step and there is a greater step. You will learn as Barbados is doing, to glaze the clay [products] at some time in the future. So I am asking you not to stop at this moment but to see that the products that you have done could be greatly enhanced to be better,” he said.
Meantime Director of Cooperatives Mr. Samuel Powell during the welcome remarks said that the main objective of the workshops was to get the students to develop skills in Basket and Pottery making and to improve these skills as they grew older.
He said that the items made could be sold locally with the target markets offered by the tourists, hotels and returning nationals while the money made from the sale could be used as seed funds to either improve on the development of these skills or in establishing themselves as entrepreneurs.
“There is a market for locally made craft and personally, I don’t think that the local market is saturated with these types of products. More needs to be done and in focusing on the schools, we are investing in the youth who may become members of the Nevis Pottery Cooperative or the Nevis Handcraft Cooperative Society Limited in the future. By so doing we are ensuring that there is continuity of those Cooperative Societies. Additionally, the bottom line is for persons to make money and to be proud of what they are contributing to the development of Nevis,” he said.
Mr. Powell took the opportunity to commend everyone who was involved in the workshops and urged them to continue to support the youth as they strived to develop skills that would enable them to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way.
Remarks were also made by Mr. Pearlievan Wilkin Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture who congratulated the Division of Cooperatives and the students on a job well done. However, he told the participants that learning a craft would teach them qualities of leadership and to develop a sense of purpose, since too many persons went through life without a sense of purpose.
He said learning a craft also taught them to be patient, communications skills, a burning desire and passion to do something, discipline, obedience, humility, responsibility, competence and commitment. He said they were all exceptional qualities which would serve them throughout their school years and into their adult lives.
The students were presented with certificates of participation by Minister Hector and each facilitator was presented with a token of appreciation on behalf of the students.
The student’s craft pieces from both workshops are expected to be showcased at the upcoming Agriculture Open Day in Charlestown to be hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture at the end of March.