Apr 27, 2015 News
The A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), is looking to increase public funding and enhance cultural awareness should the party win the upcoming May 11 General and Regional Elections.
This was revealed at a public forum held at the Theatre Guild, Kingston, where Presidential hopeful, Brigadier (retired) David Granger, and APNU + AFC member Catherine Hughes addressed questions from attendees.
A question was posed to the candidates whether more emphasis would be placed on the local creative and cultural industry along with the steps their administration would take to grow these industries, should their party win the election.
To this, Hughes responded that the party intends to make available to more schools the facilities and equipment necessary for art programmes to develop. She used the example of musical education in schools, saying that most institutions do not have the necessary equipment to sustain such a programme.
“Most schools do not have a music department with equipment. The schools that actually have instruments are some of the top schools. So we need to start improvement within our entire school structure. We need to start bringing music back into our schools so we can start nurturing individuals and the talent from that age,” said Hughes.
Hughes continued to say that the Secondary and Post-Secondary levels of education are in need of the necessary training facilities to improve the creative industry in Guyana. She used the Theatre Guild as a prime example of young people coming together to develop the country’s cultural integrity. This, Hughes said, exhibits the necessity for funding to be injected into similar organisations, particularly private and youth-centric like the Guild.
“In places like Trinidad, in the area of video production every year the budget allocates ‘x’ number of dollars whereby producers are able to create local documentaries and films. They have an opportunity to put forward their work and be connected to others in that field. The same thing is happening in the area of music, developing more plays and more performances in the area of dance,” related the AFC Executive Member.
Hughes said that there has actually been very little investment in the area of the creative industry, thus the more funding there is in that particular industry, the more young people will be able to “run with it”.
Elaborating on the issue of cultural awareness, Granger posited that the country needs to re-evaluate the approach it takes to culture. He related the question to the role culture plays in administering medical service to indigenous communities in hard to reach parts of Guyana. The Presidential candidate cited instances where he would campaign in remote regions of the country and meet Guyanese whose first language was not English.
Granger explained that administering medical treatment to someone who speaks Wapishiana would be difficult for a trained doctor from somewhere like Cuba. “You are bound to have misunderstandings in how to treat the patient. We have nine indigenous languages and people on the Coast don’t have a clue about them,” said Granger, “We need to standardise how we address culture.”
In his address to the audience, Granger said that the country has no cultural policy, since persons are hardly aware of Guyana’s culture. He said that with the exception of select cultures, Guyanese are ignoring its rich cultural background.
“You hardly hear about important festivals like Chinese Immigration and Portuguese Immigration… we need a holistic approach to culture and not just cherry pick certain parts of it,” related Granger.
He said that by educating the general public on the country’s indigenous people and its minority groups, it eliminates the cultural problems that fester in Guyana.
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