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 Address at the Launching of the Cultural Development Foundation - July 25, 2002

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Address By
Hon. Menissa Rambally
Minister for Social Transformation, Culture and Local Government

At The Launching of the Cultural Development Foundation

National Cultural Centre

July 25, 2002

5:00 p.m.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a perfect occasion and opportunity for me to express publicly, my satisfaction with and appreciation for the work and commitment of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Cultural Development Foundation.

Off-times we tend to keep pace with current developments and overlook the Herculean efforts of those who are making it possible. I am fortunate, as Minister responsible, to have a team of professionals and contributors who believe in what they are doing and who take great pride in getting it right the first time around.

I used the word “team”, for it best describes the approach of persons from varying components of the cultural network that have come together to make a reality of this dream of creating a functional Cultural Development Foundation.

It is important that we credit those working in the engine room of the movement, for the process has only just begun, and I can assure you that with the task ahead, there will never be any such thing as a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. We have, in a sense, to become missionaries for the cause…a cause which, on the surface, will bear little or no personal reward.

We have now to embark on the arduous task of educating the public, which will entail a refocusing of views and attitudes towards things cultural. My wish is for us to use this umbrella agency to trigger progress at the community and grassroots level.
St. Lucia has a rich and legendary cultural history, which can be useful, not only for the upliftment of our people but as a major tourism attraction and export industry.

That is why the formation of this Foundation received the full support of the Cabinet of Ministers, for collectively we were persuaded of its pivotal role in helping to instill a positive value system and mirror image of our population. In recruiting personnel, we opted to go out of the mainstream of established and regular decision making, for we were persuaded and are now convinced that there are valuable resources to be found not only in the private sector but also among ordinary cultural enthusiasts.

Several of the policy positions contained in the National Cultural Policy of St. Lucia had their genesis not in the minds of revered intellects, but in philosophies, articulated in their own inimitable way by pan men, calypsonians, dancers, musicians, poets and others whose role in the overall cultural make-up of St. Lucia was hitherto blurred or indiscernible.

The timing of this event is near perfect. There are those who would suggest that it is long overdue, but the rhetorical answer, in the form of a question is ‘were the people ready for such a Foundation’?

We have just emerged from an incident free Carnival where, while it can be said that this might not have been the flagship year for calypsos, organisationally we are on the right track and moving in the right direction.

The participation of our people in things other than bacchanal events is another classic example of the maturity and the new consciousness and sense of awareness of St. Lucians. Never before has there been such widespread participation in cultural community activities that fall out of the ‘jump and wave’ craze. My thesis therefore is that St. Lucia is ripe for a pooling of resources and a coming together of cultural interests under a single umbrella body.

The Chairman of proceedings would have already given insights into the functioning of the Foundation and the background to its establishment. Mine is merely the duty of reiterating to all present the unswerving support of the Government of St. Lucia for this venture and my personal appreciation for the efforts of all who have contributed to this exercise thus far.

The Cultural Policy encapsulates the position and ambition of Government and the stakeholders. We now need all hands on deck to assist in triggering and bringing about the cultural revolution that is required to realise our stated goals.

Against this backdrop, it is with pleasure that I formally declare the Cultural Development Foundation of St. Lucia up and running…launched and operational.

May God bless and guide your future activities.

I thank you.


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