Charlestown, Nevis (May 29, 2007)
Chairman of the St. James Festival Committee Mr. Pearlivan Wilkin hailed Winfest 2K7 as a success. The Whit weekend community festival with the theme “Celebrating with Action Windward Fest 2007″, was the first in what is expected to be an annual parish activity.
“In my opinion it went generally well. It was incident free and I think it was a very good weekend. The festival brought people together and stimulated economic activity, they were two of the five main objectives we wanted to meet this year,” he told the Department of Information on Tuesday May 29, 2007.
The festival was sponsored by telecommunications provider (Chippie) UTS Cariglobe and was held under the patronage of Mr. Nathan “Supper” Jeffers a distinguished senior citizen of the St. James Parish.
According to Mr. Wilkin, the Committee hoped to achieve more strategic goals to revitalise and penetrate the Parish’s dying culture and heritage and to provide potential contestants for Nevis’ annual Culturama Festival in successive festivals.
Meantime, at Winfest’s official opening ceremony at the White Hall Basketball Court on Friday May 25, 2007, Minister of Culture the Hon. Hensley Daniel noted that the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), had taken a decision to organise the parish festivals to give persons additional opportunities for self expression.
“The thinking is that the community festivals must provide the spirit for Culturama and if the people are accustom to share in the culture diversity of their respective parishes then we can expect a greater showpiece during Culturama and that is one of the reasons, the aim being to strengthen the engagement and involvement in Culture at the community level so that we can have van improved Culturama throughout the year,” he said. The Culture Minister explained that the Administration had recognised that culture was a unique expression of people and as such a decision was taken to organise a series of community festivals, one for each of the island’s five parishes.
Mr. Daniel explained that so far a festival had been held in the St. John’s Parish during the Easter weekend while the St. Pauls festival will be held during the Independence weekend. The month of December would be divided between the St. Thomas (Cottonarama) and the St. Georges Parish (Gingerama).
He said that the activities also sought to promote a sense of wellbeing as cultural icons were honoured as a show of appreciation for those who had blazed the trail and who have pursued the development of Culture with missionary zeal. The activities were also a means to reconnect the young people with Nevis culture.
“We recognise that our young people have missed out on the sharing and the caring which comes from our culture. They have missed out on some very critical aspects of dance, music and drama in the communities and I want the young people to join us and recognise that this is an effort and an opportunity for [them] to reconnect with the culture and that for those of you who think that our culture is based on TV and our culture is based on adapting the lifestyles of the North Atlantic, you just need to talk to “Supper” and to other people in the community.
“These festivals are aimed at reconnecting and ensuring that when people like ourselves have gone to the great beyond, the younger people in the community will continue. We [NIA] are troubled that the young people are not playing the Cowboys and Indians. We need to have more Masquerades more people playing the fife, more people paying the drums,” he said.
The Minister also took the opportunity to announce that the Department of Culture would shortly be restructured and set up as the National Cultural Foundation. It would be designed with three units one would be responsible for festivals, another for the development of arts and the third for the hosting of Culturama.
Mr. Daniel explained that the move would maximise the scarce resources available on Nevis and as such persons involved in the island’s culture would be easily accessible.
“We [NIA] are thinking about transforming the society and I want to remind us that culture is one of the vehicles of social transformation. It is one of the ways in which we can tell that the people of the country feel sufficiently good about themselves to take part in the activities.
Other addresses came from the Honourable Patrice Nisbett a member of the Federal Parliament and Legal Advisor in the NIA who hailed from the St. James Parish and Ms. Caroline Blake Chippie representative.
Among those present at the official opening were Education Advisor Mrs. Christine Springette and Tourism Advisor Mr. Alistair Yearwood.