Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture- Carlos James, wants to see some changes to the Nine Mornings and Christmas Festival, geared towards making the activities more inclusive.
James expressed his desires as he addressed the Prize-Giving Ceremony for the 2022 edition of the Festival, held last Saturday, January 14, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown.
Among the changes he proposed is the composition of the various community groups that are in place for the annual festival.
“We have to restructure the criteria and say how many persons must be on a committee in the communities for you to be judged and placed in categories,” James advanced, and called for the establishment of genuine Community Festivals Committees.
“This Community Festivals Committee will, of course, take the shape and form similar to the Nine Mornings Committee … Not just the Nine Mornings Festival, but at every quarter, we should look at how we can bring our communities together at Festivals and the Arts,” the Minister further explained.
And, as part of the broadening of the community groups’ purview, James suggested, “Let us bring back our Best Village Competition and just all of us work hard to Light up at Christmas … Let us clean up at Independence.”
Ownership of the Festival
James thus called on all stakeholders and the general populace, to “own” the Festival.
“It is our Festival, and we have to own it and we have to take that initiative in our community …It is important that all of us work together to keep the Nine Mornings alive… We have to hold this thing together and save what is left of our indigenous life as a Vincentian society … All of us will embark on this project as Cultural and National Ambassadors,” James pleaded.
Cognizant that the Nine Mornings Festival is under threat from external forces, James highlighted some of the adversaries to the Vincentian cultural landscape.
“We are talking in a few years from now the significant erosion of the important parts of our culture, the historic value of what it is because we will be quickly replaced by the smart phones, the technology, other things which I am talking about- the metaverse and the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFD), which is going off in a different paradigm shift, quickly erasing the quadrille, boosey back, monkey mas, even Nine Mornings will be threatened,” James cautioned.
Against that backdrop, James underscored the need for a greater sense of community spirit, which he recognised as being prevalent around Christmas time and which can assist in helping the survival of the Festival.
“That Christmas feeling … that unity feel where people come together, work together in harmony, despite their political differences, religious difference and personal differences as individuals to make our communities better,” he analogized.
James promised that with the planned evaluations, consultations, collaborations and resulting proposal for alterations, the 2023 Nine Mornings and Christmas Festival will be an improvement on what transpired last year.