Being Hospitable is Part of Our Culture, Says Director of Culture

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 13, 2017 (SKNIS): Troy Mills, Director of Culture, has described Kittitians and Nevisians as hospitable people, noting that it has become entrenched in our culture, as values and beliefs play a critical role.

The Director was at the time appearing on the Government’s weekly radio and television programme “Working for You” on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.

“We are known as extremely hospitable people. A lot of people enjoy coming here not just for vacations, weddings and honeymoons. They want to come to St. Kitts and Nevis because they know they will be warmly greeted by our people and they will have a good time so that is part of our culture – being excellent hosts,” said Mr. Mills.

Mr. Mills said that every culture has its good and its bad and although there are a great number of positives within the Federation’s culture there are things that need to be worked on.

“Of course you can’t have day without night and you can’t have good without the not so good…so there are the other elements of culture which I would want to say are not so positive,” he said, while referring to safety and security. “Over the last few years we have been challenged with crime. If that continues then that will become a part of our culture. You wouldn’t want to hear you don’t want to go to St. Kitts and Nevis because of this spate of crime.”

The director noted that it is important to treasure culture as it clearly identifies a people.

“You know well that these people are known by this – that is their culture – the way they do things and of course culture encompasses religion, politics, and sports, everything about us,” he said. “In its simplest sense, culture is the way of life of a people. Culture is learned behaviour. It is handed down and of course culture changes because there are some things we may do or our grandparents would have done in the past that we no longer do and so we have some changes. Culture evolves.”

Director Mills referred to page 19, chapter 4, of the Draft National Culture Policy, which speaks about culture and tourism stating that both the Ministries of Tourism and Culture work hand in hand. The chapter starts out: “to provide a consistently outstanding visitor experience through the sustainable development of the human, natural and cultural resources of St. Kitts and Nevis in order to maximize opportunity, prosperity and the quality of life for present and future generations of all citizens.”

Mr. Mills stated that the Draft National Culture Policy states that it has been recognized, however, that the tourism product of St. Kitts and Nevis is a cultural product. In fact, it was acknowledge that St. Kitts and Nevis is not a beach destination, rather, it is a small destination with many heritage sites and as such though sun, sea and sand will play a role, and it is the culture and heritage elements of the society that will determine its successes as a tourism destination.

“What we are saying here is that when people come they are coming for the culture and experience,” he said, while questioning what is present in St. Kitts and Nevis that other Caribbean Islands don’t have. “A niche market, apart from the intangible elements mentioned, they respect the hospitality of the people. The Brimstone Hill, Black Rocks petroglyphs, and the Cotton Ginnery just to name a few. Do we as a people embrace these things?”

Mr. Mills encouraged all citizens and residents to cherish their culture so as to preserve their identity as a people. He spoke to the four pillars of culture, namely, performing, culinary, literary and visual arts, adding that all of these are present in St. Kitts and Nevis. He further encouraged persons to get more involved, embrace their culture and utilize their talent.

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