Residents to be Included in Draft Cultural Policy Discussion‏

Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 07, 2016 (SKNIS): In the near future, residents of St. Kitts and Nevis will have an opportunity to add their voice to the formulation and eventual implementation of the National Cultural Policy, which is currently in draft form.

 This was revealed by Stanley Knight, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, who was the featured guest on the Government Programme Working for You held July 06, 2016.

 “What they now have is a draft and there is a committee,” Mr. Knight said.  “They have sat down and are basically answering the question: How do we have it vetted, vetted not just by them, but vetted by the community at large, because a national policy must be written in a way that the people within your country take ownership of it, therefore they must have that mechanism by which they can contribute to it.”

 In another setting, Director of Culture Troy Mills said that the process to formulate the current draft had commenced in 2010 and had been completed in 2012.  The committee currently reviewing the draft consists of administrators and representatives of practitioners who will revise the draft before presenting it to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Honourable Shawn Richards, the Cabinet and the general public at large for discussion.

 Mr. Knight elaborated that there are certain requisites that would have to be in the Policy.

 “It has to guide and shape how we define ourselves now, based on the past and therefore how will we define ourselves and who we become in the future,” he said, noting that the definition is purposely broad.  “At one time we were a very strong calypso country.  The question is, are we as strong on calypso now, or have we gone the route of so many, now more soca than calypso. … How do we capture, retain and hold on to and even more importantly than that, how do we get our people to understand the value of that (culture).”

 The Permanent Secretary of Culture went on to explain that learning about something did not mean that the knowledge would be adopted.  He related the story of someone being told not to steal or else they would go to jail.  Such a person he said might still commit the illegal act and get the penalty of imprisonment.

 “Now here it is, that person was exposed to the information, but until they put it into practice, until we have seen the change in behavior, they have not learnt,” Mr. Knight said.  “So yes education is key, but we have to make sure that we educate persons in a way that makes them practitioners in their own rights.”

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