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Letter to the Editor

The writer, M. Anna Nimos, believes that the recent news surrounding the Festival and Fairs Committee report submitted to the Government by the new Chairman Marvin Blyden seems to suggest that there is need to make a few necessary changes. "It seems that the new Chairman is only making official what the public has been complaining about for decades; that we, the taxpayers of the Territory are not getting value for the dollars spent year after year on festivals". Photo: VINO/File
By M. Anna Nimos

Change is never without its casualties. Check how many items of personal effects get broken, misplaced or dumped when you are moving from one place to another. No matter how hard you may try to keep things intact, something will not make it to the new destination. Sometimes things are sitting in one place for so long without any ‘disturbance’, only being held together by the law of gravity, that as soon as you touch them they fall apart, and all you can do is discard the crumbled bits and

So it is when you try to change systems or operations, and you cannot improve anything without changing some fundamental aspect of it. You have to get rid of something, and whether it is old or not, if it has ceased to serve its intended function, or if it was never working properly in the first place, or if the new system requires more than what the current apparatus is capable of delivering, then a replacement is quite in order.

We never hesitate to get rid of the old TV set, even though it’s working just fine, in order to get the new Flat Screen, or the new sofa to replace the old antique your mother died and left you. You never hesitate to get the new SUV even though the old one is working fine, because you must always be in the ‘latest’. As for clothes and accessories, that goes without saying; every season has a new style and one must be current in fashion affairs.

Well, saying all that to say this; that the recent news surrounding the Festival and Fairs Committee report submitted to the Government by the new Chairman seems to suggest that there is need to make a few necessary changes. It seems that the new Chairman is only making official what the public has been complaining about for decades; that we, the taxpayers of the Territory are not getting value for the dollars spent year after year on festivals.

The reasons for not getting value for money can be attributed to mismanagement, corruption, and carelessness. Perhaps the biggest problem is that of over-sized egos among the characters that are in control of running the various shows and programs. Nobody wants to be held accountable for falling short of reasonable expectations; solving problems and the like, and reporting to the public who not only funds the event, but is its main customer. But they are quite happy to wield power and authority in making decisions and controlling how our tax monies are spent in all the wasteful ways that may very well be their way of ensuring a profitable reward for some of the said volunteers who say that they are only volunteering their time to the committee.

The question must be asked as to why they do not provide proper accounting of the monies they receive from the Government. And how do they justify some of these spending? And why is it necessary to spend so much on importing entertainers when we have so much talent available locally?

Mr. New Chairman will come under fire for the report he submitted because it is not the usual sort of report that strokes the egos of the special persons heading the committees and sub-committees. But if he sticks to the truth he has nothing to fear, but fear itself. It is about time that we call an ace an ace and a spade a spade, and face reality. The recession is not the only good reason why we must become more conscious of how the money goes. There is also the element of ethics and morality as it relates to our culture, and examples being set for future generations.

Ordinary citizens from time to time voice opinions, frustrations, and disappointments in the way the festival programs are conducted; they all have room for improvement – the Calypso show, the Queen show, the Gospel festival, the Rise and Shine, and the Watersports which have fallen by the wayside altogether and needs to come back. The issue of whether or not to have a number of mini-festivals in the villages versus having one central celebration in Road Town, and even the number of holidays allotted to the celebrations have all been discussed in the public media. Sound advice, and practical ideas have been voiced on the talk shows, the online and print media, but nobody in the festival committees seem to take notice of these sentiments. Things continue on as usual, going from bad to worse, unfortunately.

Hopefully, now that the report has brought to light some of the fixtures and fittings that need to be replaced, we will slowly but surely get to the stage where our annual festivities are more comfortable for all of us, and not just the few privileged rulers that have enjoyed their positions year after year, while the celebrations deteriorate year after year, making us look like laughing stocks. With due respect to those who have contributed tirelessly over the years to the festival, the Committee honors such persons by naming the village after them.

The whole Festival Affairs needs over-hauling, but until there is a clear cultural policy to guide the processes, and set the framework for national festivals, we will go around in circles and little or no progress will be achieved.

2 Responses to “Letter to the Editor”

  • qc (24/11/2012, 08:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    good letter
  • ahchoo (27/07/2018, 00:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Another belly aching about something that is not necessary. Do not need the festival fandango with its griping sniping whining and spending. Festival time real Tollans escape the degradation by skipping out to other destination. With luck, perhaps it will be rained out again this year.


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