Our theme of this BDN issue is “Moving Forward in Unity to Build a Stronger Nation.”
We are compiling the contributions of writers, artists, poets, photographers, our leaders, and everyone with a voice and view to share on Grenada’s 41st anniversary of independence.
Senator the Honourable Brenda Hood
Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture
QUESTION: What is the culture ministry’s definition of culture?
The definition of culture has been clearly outlined in the Grenada National Cultural Policy and I believe it gives us a better understanding of our vision for the work being done and needed to be done by our ministry.
DEFINITION OF CULTURE
“In its simplest form, culture is defined as the “way of life of a people”. It is the dynamic reservoir of ways of thinking and doing, accumulated over time, which has been agreed upon and transmitted across generations in a community. It includes the knowledge, experience, beliefs, folk ways, values, customs, and traditions as well as institutions we create in our efforts to determine who we are.”
QUESTION: What forms/practices define Grenadian culture?
Like most Caribbean territories our cultural landscape is so diverse, so to limit our forms and practices to a listing may result in alienation of non prominent forms or practices, which may have significant impact on our culture. With this in mind I would think I would go out on a limb and make mention of a few influential forms and practices that have in some way defined Grenadian indentify.
Our repository of belief systems, which have stemmed from our peoples exposure to Christianity, our code of behaviors which resulted in a continued generation of peaceful warm and law abiding citizens. Our language, I do not speak of English or French, but our creolized versions we have created to communicate with its colorful expression.
There are the things that have been handed down to us by our African, European and Asian ancestry like traditions, proverbs and sayings, folktales that are present in our daily even unaware to most. It must also be noted that due to the geographic location of our population the traditions and practices unique to one region will vary, differ or only exist in a particular location but is recognized as part of the Grenadian culture. A very typical example is present between Carriacou and Petite Martinque.
QUESTION: What are the key responsibilities of the Culture Ministry?
The key responsibilities of our ministry have to be facilitation. One needs to appreciate the magnitude of culture in any society and to specify the responsibilities by a listing would be ineffective. We articulate the role of facilitation simply because like culture, which is ever evolving, our role as a ministry evolves with time, needs and societal demands. Our focus at this time has been training in the areas of the performing arts, with the intent of developing human capital resources for the possibilities the creative industries offer in area of job creation. It is also the ministry’s responsibility to preserve, protect and promote both our intangible and tangible heritage and to ensure continuation and awareness of our traditions. The ministry plays an integral role in guidance to government on bilateral agreement with international bodies and country’s
and must represent the interest of the peoples of Grenada in ensuring the promotion preservation of the Grenadian identity.
At present the Ministry plays a signification role in the funding and planning of National events through the Grenada Cultural Foundation, Spicemas Corporation and National Celebrations Committee. It assists with the relief of government taxation to our stakeholder who are building businesses in the area and need to import much needed equipment.
QUESTION: The calypso is among the most accessible of our creations. Can calypso be used as a pedagogical tool in our schools?
The issue of the use of arts within the education system has been a continued debate with the facilitators of education. The art of learning has been reduced to the art of passing and examination and as such the integration of art into the curriculum is being met with much resistance at this time. We at the ministry, however, continue to penetrate these institution with programs including the teaching the art of calypso. The response has been good in certain pocket areas and it is hoped that the results of this program will in the future be fully integrated. There can be no doubt that the calypso art form has enhanced the products we call student in the past, with the example of Akima Paul being the most prominent.
The ministry of culture understands the powerful and influential nature of our calypso in our society and will continue to provide alternates to learning through this medium within the institutions that provide education to our people. We are optimistic that the results of our programs presently in existent will provide a beacon of enlightenment to our educators and propel the full integration for this art form into our schools curriculum.