National Cultural Policy to protect  arts, culture in SVG
March 22, 2013

National Cultural Policy to protect arts, culture in SVG

Persons involved in the artistic and cultural aspects St Vincent and the Grenadines now stand to benefit from the creation of a National Cultural Policy.{{more}}

The introduction to the 12-chapter policy states that the government, through the policy, aims to “develop a sense of national pride and create a spirit of greater responsibility, commitment and discipline to cultural activities and undertakings.”

The policy also “aims to identify, stimulate and develop the creative potential of Vincentians so as to improve and enrich the quality of life and promote the image of St Vincent and the Grenadines…”

In her presentation of the draft policy on March 13, Culture Change consultant René Baptiste noted chapter six, which identifies struggles as it relates to the rights and status of an artist in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I don’t know how many artistes that are self-employed register as self-employed under the NIS,” Baptiste said.

“You look nice and young now jumping up and down on the stage now, but you’re going to be 60 one of these days”.

Additionally, she stressed the importance of artists using copyright, as it will ensure that their work is not plagiarized and marketed by others.

“The young poets, they’re posting these poems online and I ask them to put copyright, date it and put your name,” the consultant said.

“You will have a hard time telling somebody a day after you’ve posted it that you wrote that”.

Baptiste stated that in order for an artist to make money, they must own their work and create an image that represents it as well.

“We cannot expect that the Beyonce we see in these swimsuit outfits, she’s not the same person when she sits down at Jay Z’s dining room table or when she’s negotiating with the Bank of America,” she said.

“That is a stage image…that’s to make money”.

Under the policy, preservation of heritage is also addressed. Baptiste noted that St Vincent and the Grenadines has suffered due to persons’ negligence and unawareness of value of artifacts they have found.

“We have lost so much by people finding things and selling to tourists,” she said.

“Tourist goes to United States, puts it in a museum, get a million for it and they gave you ten dollars”.

She emphasized the importance of organizations like the National Trust, which are put in place to handle such findings and the public’s co-operation with these organizations in order to preserve the heritage of the country.

Many other aspects of arts and culture in St Vincent are addressed in the policy, including funding and financing of the cultural policy, cultural identity and diversity and cultural tourism.

Anthony Theobalds, Director of Culture, thanked Baptiste, on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports, for her work done in creating the policy.

“I am very pleased in this particular case, that St Vincent did not choose to go find somebody from Europe…but was able to identify a home-grown consultant, who can provide the expertise and is very solidly knowledgeable about St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Theobalds said.

The draft policy has chapters on Policies, Legislation and Institutional Frameworks; The Role of Partners (Government and Government related bodies); The Role of Partners – Cultural NGOs; Artists and the Disciplines of the Arts; Cultural Identity and Diversity; Heritage; Cultural Tourism; Culture and Creative Industries; Funding and Financing of the Cultural Policy; Monitoring and Evaluation.

Baptiste stated that many documents, including Regional Cultural Policy of Caricom, the OECS Treaty and EPA master document, as well as the laws of culture were reviewed while developing the policy.(BK)