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McKie chastises businesses for lack of support at Christmas

McKie chastises businesses for lack of support at Christmas

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Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie has expressed disappointment with the lack of support from business entities during the Christmas season 2017.

In giving an overview of the national Nine Mornings Festival last Saturday, the Minister thanked the communities for responding and continuing to make St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) “one of the best places to be” at Christmas time.

He also highlighted a number of positives that came with the December festival of last year, including a large number of visitors.

“I think we can safely say from the numbers that we saw at the Nine Mornings activities and throughout Kingstown, including for the night shopping on Sundays, that we had large numbers on our shores for Christmas 2017,” the Minister said.

Turning then to the challenges faced, the Minister spoke of the fact that businesses do not bring in the Christmas lights necessary for the festival, causing participants to have to get them from “outside”.

“When we had the discussion just before Nine Mornings started, we all lamented on the challenge of getting appropriate lights. I think this year was probably worse than ever,” the Minister stated.

Continuing, McKie asked, “Now, why does this have to be? There’s a business sector here that needs to see the opportunity, that needs to respond…”, adding that if they do not respond, the Nine Mornings Committee may have to find a way to do so instead.

“So, I think we need to have one final discussion with the business sector and see if they could respond to this demand, because if you have 47 communities lighting up and having activities, I mean, surely, they can feel confident that if they bring lights in, they will be purchased,” the Minister mused.

McKie also chastised the businesses in Kingstown for not lighting up.

“This brings me to the point now of the business entities in Kingstown lighting up,” at which point one audience member interjected saying ‘hmm’.

He continued, “It is beyond all of us. The business entities make the most money for the year at Christmas time. Why can’t they see it important and necessary to make a small little contribution to the development of our Nine Mornings Festival that is growing in all other aspects, but they are not providing that show of support?”

The Minister said that this year, the Government is offering to light up the government buildings, which would hopefully provide some encouragement to the businesses.

“So, if we start with the government buildings, as many of them in Kingstown and encourage the business sector, I’m sure that we can make a much more impacting impression to visitors and locals in our capital city Kingstown,” he stated.

All of the Minister’s suggestions came from the wish to raise the Nine Mornings Festival in the ranks of Christmas festivals around the world.

“Are we satisfied with being one of the 10 best, as the international world has identified, or do we want to stake the claim as one of the best?” the Minister asked the community representatives.

“I think for 2018 we can aim for one of the five best festivals.”(KR)

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