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PSCS pulls sponsorship of Primary Schools Performing Arts Festival

PSCS pulls sponsorship of Primary Schools Performing Arts Festival

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After many years of sponsoring the Primary Schools Performing Arts Festival, one local business house has decided to pull its sponsorship on this year’s installment of the event.

This week, the PRISPAF was officially launched, with preliminary performances {{more}}at the Kingstown Preparatory School. However, it was evident that the event did not have the usual backing of the Professional Secretarial and Consultancy Services Inc (PSCS).

When contacted by the SEARCHLIGHT, managing director of the PSCS, Camille Crichton, revealed that it was her decision to remove the sponsorship from this year’s programme.

“I believe when we are investing that our sponsorship should not be taken for granted and things should be done properly. Over the years I have had challenges, but because of the end result, the nurturing of our young people, I [overlooked] the challenges within the Ministry of Culture and continued the sponsorship,” Crichton said.

The managing director indicated that while she had every intention to sponsor this year’s event, there were some things that she was not satisfied with and that the Ministry of Culture did not take some of her suggestions on board.

She also expressed disappointment that she was formally informed of this year’s festival only one week before the launch, while the Ministry had been advertising the festival even before then.

“Eventually, when they called me to have a meeting, the attitude that they gave me, I said you know what: I’ve had enough of this. They need to learn to do things properly, because if I continue to give in to their attitude, in to the way they do things, it will never change.”

Crichton said in addition to that, teachers would meet her and tell her many negative remarks about the festival.

“What really upset me, the morning of the meeting, they sent me an e-mail to tell me I must print this email for the meeting,” Crichton explained.

Although she said she would like to sponsor the event in the future, Crichton feels that the Ministry should change the way in which it does certain things. These include being better organized, establishing judging criteria and decentralizing the grand days events.

“They say they are choosing raw talent and there is no criterion. You understand? Even in the past I would have seen some of the performances and the raw talents weren’t chosen,” she said.

“We could work on improving the objectives of it, because one of the things I found lacking, though they may say differently — that you have all these people that they would have identified. After PRISPAF, what next? Do they follow up on them? I am sorry I had to withdraw my sponsorship, but if I continue to give the sponsorship under those conditions, nobody would improve.”

Chief cultural officer, Anthony Theobalds told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that the Ministry of Culture respects Crichton’s decision and that the festival, which officially began on February 2, will carry on as usual.

“The festival is being carried with no sponsor. That’s how it is; we can hope that another sponsor will come forward at another point in time. We are open to receiving alternative sponsorship,” he said.

In relation to the event, the cultural officer revealed that it was not meant to be a competition, but rather encouragement for students to showcase their respective talents.

Furthermore, Theobalds noted that since it is an annual event, schools have up to one year to train students for the PRISPAF in the various zones and then between one to five weeks to prepare for the grand days, when talent from all schools are showcased.

“An item gives representation to the school in order for us to be able to fill grand day. There are no judging criteria in terms of winning. It’s not a festival about winning. It’s about showcase, so there isn’t a judging criterion that says you get 50 points for this or 20 points for that. You get an assessment that says of the work that you have shown us, this is the piece that we think will best represent the school … and this is what you need to do to improve it,” he said.

According to Theobalds, of the 67 primary schools in this country, over 60 have expressed a desire in participating in this year’s festival.(BK)

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