August 20th 2013
Citizens and residents of my beloved country St. Kitts-Nevis, I greet you in peace as the elected constituency representative for Charlestown, the parish of St. Pauls.
Since my most recent statement which, among other things, addressed the hypocrisy and stagnant nature of the governing Concerned Citizens Movement-Nevis Island Administration, I have received numerous phone calls and messages about other pertinent issues that should be addressed. Being the caring person I am and the great listener I was taught to be, I have selected one of those many topics to dissect for the good people of St. Kitts-Nevis. That topic is none other than Nevis’ annual summer festival, Culturama. For most of us, the Culturama is not over until prize giving is held. So with that behind us, we can say it’s over.
For almost two weeks, from July 25th to August 6th, I searched and searched and searched some more for ‘history, culture and music combined’ as I had every intention of celebrating ‘Culturama 39’ which was being advertised as ‘the biggest Culturama ever’.
From the ridiculously late start of the contestants’ launch on June 7, 2013 to what is being referred to as ‘roadmarch controversy’; Culturama 39 was, like Nevis’ culture minister, nothing short of chaotic. As a matter of fact, it reminded me of an expression the more senior heads in our community might use, ‘they hear ‘bout Culturama and say dem too’.
Bewildered, confused, baffled, perplexed, not forgetting incomprehensible was I, the Honourable E. Robelto Hector during and following the recently held festival.
The contestants’ launch was just the fanfare, despite the fact that it was at that event that ‘Brantley’s Culturama Festival’ was noted as having made history with the staging of five pageants. This, with the addition of the Ms. Teen Nevis Pageant which underscored the point ‘they hear ‘bout Culturama and say dem too’.
As a cultural reveler, I am in support of expanding the festival but that should only be done after careful analysis and in-depth discussions. But then again, what can we expect from a vision-less, chaotic and frenzied administration and a self-absorbed, pompous and bombastic Minister of Culture?
For weeks, patrons were looking for the contestants sponsors and the sponsors were looking for them. For those who missed it, four of the six Ms.Teen Nevis Pageant contestants were sponsored by government-affiliated businesses: the Nevis Solid Waste Management Authority, the Nevis Tourism Authority, the Nevisian Heritage Village and the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation. In other words, the organizers of ‘the biggest Culturama ever’ failed miserably to source six companies willing to support teenagers. They hear ‘bout Culturama and say dem too!
The situation was not much different for the contestants in the Ms. Culture Swimwear Contest. As a matter of fact, the organizers had no choice but to change the focus of one of the show’s appearances from the sponsors to the overall festival with the 39th Anniversary Commemorative Swimwear, formerly, the Sponsor Appreciation Swimwear. They hear ‘bout Culturama and say dem too!”
Recently, Nevis’ Minister of Talk, who I sometimes refer to as the Segway Minister for his ‘safe’ balancing acts and consequently, inability to take a stance, announced that the gate receipts from this year’s festival reflected more than 50 percent increase in revenue. It was as a result of that announcement that he has adopted another alias…the Abracadabra Minister. With so many empty seats at the Cultural Complex on a nightly basis, one cannot help but wonder how this ‘50 percent increase in gate receipts’ was possible. It now leaves me to wonder if the rumours of tickets that were being purchased and given to ‘patrons’ overseas was in fact true. After all, “they hear ‘bout Culturama and say dem too’.
Let us, for a moment, shift the focus to the marginalization of our brothers and sisters on neighbouring island, St. Kitts. The Minister of Talk aka the Segue (segway) Minister aka the Abracadabra Minister was very adamant when he stated that Kittitians were not to be as involved in our festival as they had been in previous years. Out of order! With that announcement, naturally I thought that he had all of his bases covered. Lo and behold, here comes the announcement of a St. Kitts versus Nevis Kaiso Bacchannal which, according to the minister himself, “failed miserably.” It is no wonder that Kittitians hosted their own August Monday J’ouvert jump-up with a massive crowd jamming through the streets of Basseterre. They hear ‘bout Culturama and say dem too’!
Finally, I draw your attention to the rehabilitative work that was carried out on the Nevis Cultural Complex. I cannot nor will I even attempt to dispute that the new entrance at the premier Culturama venue is eye-catching. What I will say however is that our brothers attached to the government’s Public Works Department were more than capable of constructing that entrance. But no, they were given the smaller jobs in the venue’s rehabilitation. Once again, this callous, careless and cocky administration decided to divert the funds to one of their own then boldly make the statement that the NRP frivolously spent the government’s money or according to the Finance Minister, ‘left the CCM Administration in an almost impossible financial situation’. Out of order!
Fellow citizens and residents of St. Kitts-Nevis, I have underpinned a number of inconsistencies and obvious depictions of poor judgment and lack of foresight by Nevis’ governing Concerned Citizens Movement Administration regarding our beloved Culturama festival. With a major milestone in the festival on the horizon, we must take a stand to ensure that the objectives that were, in 1974, set for this festival are still being met today. Culturama is our festival. It is not NRP’s festival nor is it CCM’s festival so, if we are to truly make it the Caribbean’s greatest summer lime we must ensure that there is greater organizational participation from the people of St. Kitts-Nevis. But then again, they hear ‘bout Culturama 40 so they’re probably already saying not “dem too” but “only CCM supporters will do.”
From our desk