By Monique Washington, Nevispages.com
Charlestown,Nevis- A 41 member delegation from Nevis are currently making preparations to travel to Leeds to honor the Nevisian founder of the Leeds’ West Indian Carnival, Arthur France MBE and also to participate in the 50th anniversary of the carnival later this year.
Chairperson for the Nevis Cultural United Kingdom (UK) exchange fund raising committee, Shelagh James in speaking with Nevis Pages underlined the importance for a delegation from Nevis to participate and honor the founder of the carnival.
Ms. James stated that it the Nevisian public should indeed support Mr. France. She acknowledged that Arthur came from Nevis and took his culture, his diversity and his heritage from Nevis and has produced the biggest ever and longest standing carnival outside of Europe. It is indeed enormous.
According to Ms. James, Mr. France was born and raised in Nevis and left the island to travel to the UK when he was nineteen (19) years of age. Through much opposition, France, Calvin Beach and Willie Robinson banded together and started the Leeds’ West Indian Carnival. France took to the streets of Leeds fifty (50) years ago to play mas in a costume he produced from chicken feathers and the rest became history.
Leeds’ West Indian Carnival is the largest carnival outside of Europe. This year’s anniversary is expected to attract 2.6 million persons from all around the world. James stated that Arthur carries the mantel and, it is now time that the people of Nevis acknowledge this because the people of Leeds have. He has received every accolade. He is now the Man of Leeds; he has held the Key to the City; he has gotten an MBE; he is now an honoree Doctorate in the University of Leeds for Culture and Studies; he has also assisted in building a curriculum in the education system and he has the new world steel pan. Through this, many young persons have been educated about their heritage. James continued by stating that she believes, on all different levels, Nevisians need to recognize Arthur and all his achievements, and the best way to do so is for a delegation to travel to Leeds and give him his honors from his island of Nevis.
James informed Nevispages that Premier of Nevis, Hon. Vance Amory and Deputy Premier; Hon. Mark Brantley will lead the delegation to Leeds for ten (10) days and seven (7) nights on August 23rd – September 2nd. As a tribute to France, there will be an unveiling of a plaque by the Premier and the Deputy Premier which will take place at the Carnival House. The entire trip will be videotaped.
James said that the forty one (41) person delegation includes masqueraders, a string band, a troop, cake walk dancers which is a traditional dance in Nevis and other folklore activities. In addition, exhibition pieces from Vaughn Anslyn, Deborah Tyrell, Sylvester Meade, Marvin Chapman, and Kevin Tyrell will be show cased during an arts exhibition. Two booths have already been secured and all the sponsors for the trip will be showcased. James indicated that they will be promoting Culturama 2018, the Blues Festival, SKN Carnival and many more activities. James said that this will be a perfect opportunity to give the world a taste of Nevis and the delegation intends to sell Nevis hard to the best of their ability.
The trip is a collaborative effort between the Premier’s Ministry, Ministry of Tourism Nevis and Nevis Cultural UK Exchange fundraising committee.
James noted that fund raising efforts are currently ongoing with the different groups that are planning on traveling and the fundraising committee has many upcoming fundraising activities which include raffling a car. The tickets for the raffle are currently available and they are EC $40.00. The drawing will be held on August 6th, 2017 at the Miss Caribbean Queen Show. James also indicated if anyone is interested in buying a ticket they can contact her.
James noted that their wish was to sensitize the public of what they are doing. She said if anyone is willing to come on board with any fundraising activity they will be warmly welcomed.