Orande Bomani Charles Chairman of the National Nine Mornings Committee
News
January 17, 2023
Nine Mornings Committee looking to increase money for community stakeholders

Higher financial support for the various stakeholders involved at the community level with the National Nine Mornings Festival is the aim of the National Nine Mornings Committee for 2023.

“What we have to fight for and what I am discussing with the minister is now moving into the space where we can reward you even more for your hard work over the years,” Chairman of the National Nine Mornings Committee Orande Bomani Charles said to stakeholders on Saturday January, 14, 2023.

Charles, who was speaking at the prize giving ceremony for winners in the 2022 National Nine Mornings festivities, said based on what the Committee set out to do, the 2022 festival was a success.

“If we were to actually put a cash value on the contributions made by you out there in the communities, organizing various activities, whether it is evening activities, light up activities, Nine Mornings activities, then this budget is woefully short, we talking substantial sums…

“…but your dedication, your understanding, your patience, is a true testament to your own belief in this festival and you have been patient with us in trying to manage and balance things as you go forward and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication,” Charles stressed.

He said that persons understand the value of the hundred year old festival, “to our spirits, our people”, and the committee thought they had a responsibility to ensure that it survived what is, in his recollection, one of the most traumatic periods that the country has gone through, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the eruption of La Soufriere volcano.

Charles said these traumatic and physically damaging occurrences were weathered, and they are now able to give prizes for participation, while a full discussion will soon be held by the committee, after which persons will be invited to have a conversation on how to go forward.

“This year was used to get back on to the horse, as it were, and to push forward with the festival, but an in- depth assessment must be done where they look at what we can improve on, look at the sustainability of the festival, how to encourage stakeholders and the nation at large to recognize value so that eventually we move into a space of more professionalism, twinned with our tourism product so that it involves as many persons in SVG and abroad as possible,” Charles said.

The chairman added that the festival has immense tourism value and potential, while the importance to Vincentians as part of the cultural heritage must be emphasized. He noted that a travel website, fodors.com ranked the Nine Mornings festival as the number one Christmas festival.

“It means that with all this raw material we have, we have to now harness the potential, streamline and organize, package and brand, pull all the resources together and convince our wider society of the true value of the cultural arts, and the industries, and the heritage and how we can leverage that to ensure that it doesn’t just have symbolic significance but it is actual tangible potential for economic growth in our sector, and I want to encourage all of us to become promoters and marketers of the festival,” Charles said.

The prize giving ceremony was attended by among others, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Carlos James and deputy chair of the National Nine Mornings Committee, Lennox Bowman.

Several sponsors were also commended, among them, the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), St. Vincent Electricity Services (VINLEC), Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG), FLOW, Digicel, National Insurance Services (NIS), and the St. Vincent Brewery Limited.