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Saint Lucia to set up cultural industry

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - The curtains came down on Noble Laureate Week 2003 with the hosting of the 24th Minvielle and Chastanet (M&C) Fine Arts Awards ceremony. The event which was held on the weekend saw more than seventy individuals receiving awards in the visual, literary and performing arts categories.

Addressing the packed gathering on Saturday night, at the National Cultural Centre, Minister for Social Transformation and Culture, Honourable Menissa Rambally, cited the many recipients as testimony to the tremendous potential and creative energies still waiting to be tapped among St. Lucians. Government, she pointed out, via the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) was moving in the right direction towards establishing a cultural industry where artistes of all disciplines would be provided with the enabling environment to pursue their ambitions.

“We are creating a climate for artistes to aspire to earning a living if it is their desire. To explore their true potential and open doors that was once out of their reach. We have reached the stage where our artistes can no longer be taken for granted or handed less than they deserve, those days are over. St. Lucia’s culture is a viable industry and government is creating an industry that is viable, sustainable and internationally competitive and beneficial to the people of our country.” Minister Rambally said.

Efforts of the CDF she noted bore much fruit and proved beneficial to cultural artistes. In 2002 a music symposium grouping all the major stakeholders was convened as part of the initial step towards the creation of a music industry.

The 2002 M&C Fine Arts Awards recorded a first when it bestowed the Joseph Devaux Lifetime Achievement Award on Sixtus Jeannie Charles, the first woman since that category was established in 1994. Past winners include the late Roderick Walcott, Harold Simmons, Dunstan St. Omer, Charles Cadet and Joseph Eudovic.

The Minvielle and Chastanet Fine Arts Awards Competition was given to the people and government of St. Lucia to mark the attainment of independence in 1979. The competition is under the supervision of the M&C Limited Awards Council which includes persons in the community with special experience in the Arts.

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