First draft of national  cultural policy completed
May 14, 2013

First draft of national cultural policy completed

St Vincent and the Grenadines is only steps away from having an official national cultural policy.{{more}}

The final draft for a national cultural policy was presented on Tuesday, in a ceremony held at the National Public Library conference room.

Former Minister of Culture and local consultant René Baptiste was given the task to put together the policy and has been working diligently to do so since August, 2012.

Representative from the Ministry of Culture Michael Peters complimented Baptiste for finishing the task and presenting a final draft, particularly because a national cultural policy has been in the pipeline for quite some time.

“I started to work in the Department of Culture way back in 1989 …the first thing on my desk was a draft of a national cultural policy,” Peters said.

“Twenty- six years later, there’s still a draft and I wonder why it’s taken so long”.

The cultural officer noted that it is his hope for the process to be speeded up, given the importance of culture to national development.

“It’s important especially in the tough economic times, when agriculture has moved from first to somewhere third or fourth, and recognizing that the cultural industries, the arts, are what may drive this country’s economy much more in the future,” Peters said.

He also pointed out that one of our major national festivals, Carnival, has recently been launched without a national cultural document and he hopes that is the last time that would be done.

“I hope that it forces the government to look at some critical cultural issues…to look at national awards, national honours…our system of national identity is struggling,” he said.

After stressing the importance of local artistes depositing their music at the national sound archives, Baptiste made a special presentation.

“There was a video of a song called “Refugee Camp” by Ishan,” Baptiste explained. “But I told them that for something to work, somebody has to take the first step”.

The former Minister of Culture said the video was a local production, with Mark Cyrus doing the studio work, Fabian Guerra, the videographer, Steve Wallace, the producer, and Ishan, the artiste.

“There is no evidence of any of these artistes in our archives or in our library,” she said.

As a way to encourage the use of the national sound archives, Baptiste organized for the videographer to present Michelle King-Cuffy, the Director of Libraries, with a DVD version of the “Refugee Camp” video.

Baptiste said she has also requested that tapes with persons in Vincentian history, like E.T Joshua and George McIntosh, to be submitted to the national archives.

The National Cultural Policy consists of 12 chapters and highlights various means of addressing the culture and arts of the country, in order to maintain focus on one of the arteries of national development and encourage the private sector, while allowing all people the right to participate in and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

The policy is expected to be submitted to Cabinet for perusal.(BK)