Letters & Opinion

Saint Lucia, the Caribbean’s Entertainment and Art Capital, but do we know that?

Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Circumstances will show us that Saint Lucia is always playing catch-up when it comes to implementing things. There are many documented issues, such as the introduction of VAT, joining the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), approaching Republicanism, enforcement of laws to deter criminals, reforming our Constitution, etc.

But after observing the impact of Jazz this year, being able to attract visitors worldwide, I am convinced that due to our cultural diversity and planning skills we can market our island as The Entertainment Capital of the Region.

If we develop the various art components and build the necessary permanent structures, as well as redirect the various areas of creativity, I think we can market ourselves as The Creative Capital of the Region.

We boast of having one of the best carnivals in the region, we have Jounen Kweyol covered, we have led from the front as it relates to Soca competitions in the region, we have recently added Emancipation Day celebration, plus our Assou Square, as well as our two Flower Festivals. This means we are well on our way as being more diverse than the rest.

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So, adding drama, dance, choral and song contests can shortly make us rounded as a society of diverse art and culture.

We lack faith and will power and an investment policy that will ensure that we have permanent structures in place, as well as the experts and the necessary equipment.

Training of our people would be paramount, no doubt, and marketing we seem to know how to do, considering that we have the title of number-one destiny for newly-weds’ honeymoons.

Many of our islands, inclusive of Cuba, have hosted CARIFESTA and gained the benefits of creating structures, but for some unknown reason, we are left behind and refuse to make it our turn.

If we must grow and secure employment for the masses, we have to go creative.

One does not need major qualifications to become an artisan, or to get involved in creativity, as we are natural and all we need is the encouragement and support.

Grand projects like airports seaports, hotels and hospitals, I agree are necessary, but what about relaxation, entertainment, and social activity?

We have great names to fall back on, such as Derek and Roderick Walcott, writers such as Garth St.Omer, Stanley French, painters such as Cederic George, Kenneth Lawrence, the St.Omer family, Llewellyn Xavier, actors and poets too numerous to mention, dance professionals such as Tania Isaac, Shakina President, Nicole Aubertin, and so much other local exceptional talent, like the Eudovics…

In the singing department Invador and Teddyson John, plus the music of Boo Hinkson, Patsy Cadet, Barbara Cadet, ‘Jab’ Duplessis, even the late Charles Cadet.

Why are we afraid to take that plunge? What is stopping us from declaring ourselves as some of the best in the world? Did Luther Francois not recently prove my point? I think that taking the lead as the Caribbean’s Art Capital is fitting. All we lack is the courage to do so — and belief in ourselves.

Creativity is not a sin but a need — and not giving us a chance to excel is what I consider a Capital Sin. (After all its only God and Artistes who create…)

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