I am St. Lucia! That was our theme for this year’s Independence and still I wonder how many of us are actually in agreement. While the island celebrated 39 years of progress as a nation, I couldn’t help but wonder about the fate of our future, the young people, the youth, US! H ow many of us actually believe or even understand that we are Saint Lucia?
On Independence Day tributes were made in dance and song (someone must have forgotten to invite the spoken word community) to much applause and commendation. The often mentioned powers that be were all present and had first glance at the talents and gifts that have been bestowed onto our island. The graceful movements of dancers from Avad and Silver Shadow who have birthed internationally acclaimed performers derived much applause from the small but appreciative audience and rightfully so. These students put their all into their dance classes and we see the results of their hard work whenever they step on stage.
It is on this back- drop that I feel compelled to ask, are the relevant authorities who can enact change at the stroke of a pen understand this resource that we have at our disposal? I am always in awe at how the cliché of support at the arts always seem to make its way to the media every 4 – 5 years but the cry for genuine support goes unheard for the first 3 years.
A few nights ago I found myself jealous of Jamaicans as I watched a movie shot in 2011 but still relevant to this day. In that movie, I saw the support system, the investment, and the interest in an industry; something we are sorely lacking here. Ask any enthusiast and they will tell you, it is a struggle to keep the arts alive and I sometimes wonder how they actually do it. Surely the hotel industry, fees or dues and the once sometimes twice a year productions can’t vitally sustain an arts industry?
Once I asked a Theatre Arts teach why do we have to wait for Nobel Laureate’s week to have a small matinee for schools and the general public. Her response almost crippled my lungs. As she walked me through the benefits of Theatre Arts in communities around the island (deterrent in criminal activity amongst youth, building comradery and self-esteem were just a few she touched on) I was sadly informed of the lack of interest by entities and individuals who so gain from Theatre Arts.
That news was heart wrenching to say the least and should someone; a group set up shop on this island and dominate the industry for a few years, then and only then will we see the value of this commodity that continually and willfully gets kickedaway.
Long live the Arts!
Have a great weekend ya’ll and God bless.