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We need to begin thinking, working outside the proverbial box

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Editor: Once again St Vincent and the Grenadines prepares itself for one of our major cultural festivals, VINCY MAS. And, as we have announced proudly to the nation the several intelligent and beautiful young ladies who will participate in the Miss SVG competition, where ultimately they will vie for a university scholarship, I am moved to comment and propose for consideration the following:{{more}}

That all prizes given to winners include a development component, so that for once, that aspect of the governing corporation’s mandate be taken seriously; be made real. We need, for example, to consider that while the scholarship given to the winning young lady surely contributes to her personal development, our carnival product in no way benefits from it. I have not yet heard of a Miss SVG pursuing a discipline which contributes toward improving our arts and culture. And, let’s face it, there are many more dignified ways that a young lady may obtain a university education, since the ruling administration has greatly increased the numbers and places where Vincentians can pursue tertiary education.

I propose, therefore, that consideration be given toward awarding bursaries to the major winners of the competitions which make our carnival product meaningful. We may consider, for example, the calypso monarch being given, in addition to prize monies, a stint at the Edna Manley or some other school of performing arts to better hone his/her performing, musical and or creative potential, as the case may be.

Similarly, we can move toward increasing the design potential of our MAS component by exposing the winning designer or designers to a stint at some institution of higher artistic learning. I believe that we have very few designers, with some working for several bands at the moment. On this I am subject to correction.

The same can and must be done with the the winning steel bands. Give, at that bands’ discretion, some member of that band exposure to further formal musical training. We have seen what formal training has done for pannists Rodney Small and Reahjuan Baptiste. A pity though, that the latter was forced to seek employment overseas when we so badly need his skills at home.

These suggestions are by no means exhaustive and the only means of helping to truly DEVELOP our carnival product. But some thought ought to be given to moving our festival toward a truly development direction. I am of the opinion that when we examine the quality of our product we really have not advanced much over the last 25 years. Our MAS bands now attract larger numbers of participants, which is positive, but real creativity is sadly lacking.

Thinking along the lines of the basic proposals outlined here, over time, the quality of our output will be greatly improved as a result. We need to spend our monies where they would best impact upon the forward movement and development of our product. We need to begin thinking and working outside the proverbial box.

Dexter EM Rose

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