The Jingle Bells String Band
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, Saint KItts – Nevis
August 18, 2008 (CUOPM)
The 12th Annual Saddle Fiesta celebrations bring communities together to showcase their talents and should focus on the challenges the young people are facing.
Prime Minister and Parliamentary Representative, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas who officially opened the annual festival said the events should be used to bring unity and harmony among residents.
“Saddle Fiesta brings together the residents of the communities of Saddlers, Harris’, Lavington, Parsons, Lynches and Pogson and gives them the opportunity to celebrate. We enjoy ourselves in music, dance, other forms of demonstrations of our natural beauty and talents. It is a time when we show case what the young people can do. It brings out their creativity and natural beauty in song and social commentary via calypsos,” said Prime Minister Douglas at the official opening ceremony on the grounds of the Saddlers Primary School.
Dr. Douglas said bringing people from different communities together allows them to socialise and integrate and allows participants an opportunity “to laugh at each other, laugh with each other, laugh at themselves as we recall the days of fun that is part of our heritage that takes us back to our African ancestors.”
“It is a time when we focus on a number of current issues on the environment, health and the elderly. It also helps us to focus on the challenges that our young people are facing today. And out of all of that, we enjoy ourselves as we educate ourselves in some of these areas,” said Dr. Douglas.
He commended the Chairman of the Saddle Fiesta Committee, Ms. Clarica Richardson and all the other members for organising the week-long programme in the face of several challenges.
Prime Minister Douglas spoke of the business opportunities that result from community festivals and called for an increased partnership between both sectors with the positive sponsorship of events.
“We commend those businesses and individuals that came forward to make this year’s event possible,” said Dr. Douglas, who called for residents of the communities to think beyond the entertainment activities over the next few days.
Pointing out that over the years the community residents have been living next to each other, knowing each other and sharing with each other, Prime Minister Douglas said it should be easy for continuous harmony with each other.
He made a special appeal for an end to violence in the community and St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We would want Saddle Fiesta 2008 to be incident-free. We would want you to enjoy ourselves without preventing others from enjoying themselves. We would want to ensure that you participate safely. We call on our young people to abstain from sex. We would want you also protect to yourself if you are going to become engaged and involved to use a condom as we are still very much concerned about the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in our country and teenage pregnancy,” said Dr. Douglas.
He used the occasion to urge the committee to become more involved in educational programmes and workshops outside of Saddle Fiesta.
“Educational programmes for school children can be organised. You can hold workshops that teach our people about their heritage and culture. You can organise workshops in dance and other creative art forms so that we can continue to hold our people together,” Prime Minister Douglas recommended.
The official opening night included performances by the Jingle Bells String Band, and a Clown Troupe, dance, poetry and an appearance by the Ms. Saddle Fiesta contestants.