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Vincentian Cultural Association launched in USA

Vincentian Cultural Association launched in USA

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Last Saturday, January 30, just over 30 Vincentians participated in a meeting to facilitate the launch of a Cultural Association of Vincentians in the United States of America (CAVUSA).

The initiative was spearheaded by a steering committee that was selected at the initial cultural meeting on October 31, 2015.

According to a release, the meeting, which was organized by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Diaspora {{more}}Committee of New York, Inc, was highly successful and accomplished its main objectives of adopting a constitution and electing an executive to run the affairs of CAVUSA.

The meeting was chaired by Atiba “Tiba” Williams and heard messages from consul general Selmon Walters, COSAGO president Lavern McDowall-Thompson and chair of the SVG Diaspora Committee of NY, Inc Maxwell Haywood.

Common themes of the messages were the importance of CAVUSA in fostering unity among our people and artistes, and assisting with the preservation, promotion and marketing of our rich Vincentian culture. The potential for economic development was strongly emphasized. Haywood noted that the global cultural industry was a billion dollar industry. He noted that according to a new UNESCO report released in 2015, the cultural industry accounts for $124 billion in revenue and 1.9 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean and $620 billion in revenue and 4.7 million jobs in North America.

The participants were entertained, edutained, and inspired by performances from Vincentian spoken word artiste Carden Michael, who was accompanied by Owusu Slater and Garifuna artiste Alex Colon.

The participants at the meeting heard a reflection of the working process of the steering committee, a reading of the draft constitution and participated in the election of the new executive, which will be led by Owusu Slater. The full executive includes: Owusu Slater (chair), Atiba “Tiba” Williams (vice-chair), Francesca Sam (secretary), Franklyn “Superdex” Richards (treasurer), Toni Johnson-DaSilva (assistant secretary/treasurer), Busta Neverson (PRO), and Caudric Forbes, Des Marie Greenaway, Pure Mystics (cultural liaison officers). A special working group focussed on the Garifuna community was commissioned and will be co-chaired by Alex Kwabena Colon and Pablo Blanco.

Another major achievement of the meeting was the adoption of a constitution that would guide the functioning of the association.

Newly elected chair of CAVUSA Owusu Slater noted that in keeping with the goals of the association, he would like to focus on engaging the youth in a significant way. He also noted the importance of outreach to a broader fraternal arts community and marketing well beyond Brooklyn as the base for Vincentian cultural arts. In this regard, securing funding to do the work of the association will be critical. Slater encouraged all Vincentians and others interested in promoting Vincentian culture in all of its manifestations should get on board with this effort that has been a long time in the making.

Minister of Culture Cecil McKie, in a positive message sent to CAVUSA, noted his delight to see major initiatives being taken to focus “not only on developing the platforms in the USA, but as importantly, bridging the divide and gaps which have existed for some time between New York and St Vincent and the Grenadines.” McKie further stated that he would meet with the new association and the Diaspora Committee during the first quarter of the year to further advance the progress they have made together and the gains already realized. He noted that the operationalization of the Argyle International Airport will be crucial for the further development of the cultural arts sector.

McKie also highlighted the timeliness of the association’s formation and emphasized the need for collaboration to foster cooperation and the promotion of Vincentian artistes and cultural workers.

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