Nevis Culture Minister…”Caribbean Culture In Crisis”

Nevis Minister Of Culture - Hensley Daniel

Nevis Minister Of Culture – Hensley Daniel

Charlestown, Nevis
February 04, 2009

The constant flow of information and the build up of images from North America has led to a somewhat confused state of affairs, with regard to the cultural identity of the people of the region. That view was expressed by Minister with responsibility for Culture on Nevis Hon. Hensley Daniel at the official launch of a Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase in Nevis which concludes this weekend.

Driven by Eurocentric ideas, Mr. Daniel said the people of the region had been struggling to find the right mix at which they could identify themselves. In his view, the time had come for the people of the Caribbean to take a closer look at each other through the film industry because they could not expect a film from North Atlantic to identify with their Caribbean cultural identity.

He said it was no secret that communities throughout the region were challenged by the scale of violence they faced, a large portion of which, be said had emerged from the television programming which emanated from North America.

“I believe this film festival for children and adolescents has come at a right time so that we could at least see films which do not necessarily glorify violence but which speak to the danger of violence.

“I want to say that this comes at a right time because we are challenged to promote, as it were in Nevis and in the wider Caribbean, something we would like to call clean fun,” he said.

Mr. Daniel pointed to a spiritually and morally bounded community that envisaged exciting films with violence which spoke to the degradation of women and included profane language.

He lamented that it was troubling that those elements had become part and parcel of the things that were seen on television and sometimes in the cinema in the society.

The Culture Minister said the Caribbean Travelling Film Showcase which is being held in several Caribbean and Latin American countries offered an opportunity to make a paradigm shift where the films could be viewed and the community could be entertained but not glorified in terms of violence and profanities.

He said the time had come to redirect not just the thoughts of young people but also the adults, producers, entertainers and people in the media to devise creative ways of entertaining the youths outside the scheme of violence.

Mr. Daniel believed that the Cuban government, given its orientation to a different kind of culture and development, was the right partner for Nevis and the rest of the region to move in that direction.

He said the Film Showcase had come at a time when every country throughout the world was struggling with ways and means of creating a new kind of young person to mould in such a way that they would become a responsible adult who had a certain level of discipline, regard and one who could express themselves in such a way that other people may want to be like them.

The Minister also urged students who were slated to view the films to see them in the context of the Caribbean community and their identity and to be entertained. To the adults he said it was an opportunity for them to see the films as an opportunity to help to redirect today’s young people.

The Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase is a non profit cultural project based in Cuba.  The film festival commenced its second tour of presentations through 31 countries in the region. It was held in St. Kitts last week and was launched in Nevis on February 1st. and will conclude this weekend.

The film showcase has received sponsorship from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) the University of the West Indies and other regional institutions.

This year its focus is on children and youth in three categories 5-8, 8-12 and those older than 12 and includes shorts, features, documentaries and animation from the spectrum of countries in the greater Caribbean including 12 island nations, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Belize and Costa Rica.

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