Culture in SVG is going down the drain -Senator Baptiste
Opposition Senator, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste believes that culture in St Vincent and the Grenadines is “going down the drain”.
Bacchus-Baptiste used some of the final minutes of her contribution to the 2019 Budget debate this week to share her view on what she views as a decline in culture.
Her comments were in response to statements made by the minister of tourism and culture, Cecil McKie during his presentation on that same day.
“I heard him speak with glee, maybe, about the position of dancers in St Vincent and the Grenadines and I sat here and I laughed, I smiled because culture is going down the drain in St Vincent.
Yes, you can say that calypso is up; that is no credit to the ministry, that is the credit to the hardworking calypsonians and the creativity of calypsonians but where are the dance workshops really?,” the senator said.
Bacchus Baptiste made mention of her past experience as a dancer and said that she has been in managerial positions both at the National Performing Arts Company and St Vincent and the Grenadines Theatre Company.
She said while dance should be doing better here, it has actually decreased in quality. She also said that there should be more dance workshops to lift the standard of the art form.
“We used to be able to do whole theatrical performances. I have managed and produced and written scripts, done performances in St Vincent with our dancers and we need to pull that up,” Bacchus Baptiste said. “It is a shame what I saw St Vincent presented in Barbados for our Carifesta (Music and Arts Festival) presentation. I looked at it on my tv and I felt so ashamed. The minister said it was accredited?!”
The last Carifesta Music and Arts Festival was held last September in Barbados.
The senator said that she has attended several Carifesta festivals in the past as a member of the Vincentian delegation, where performances were inclusive of singing, dancing, acting, costumes and light production.
However, this was not the case in the performance of St Vincent at the most recent festival.
“When I see that what we did was take some calypsonians out of carnival and send them to Barbados to sing and whine and dance, that is not what Carifesta is about. It is much more than that. So please don’t mention Carifesta to me, we have gone a long way from the standard we used to have as performing arts persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” she said.
The senator added that if the New Democratic Party were to form government, the standard of performing arts that she refers to will be brought back to this nation.