Alissa Trotz makes some salient points (hey, Alissa!!)In the Diaspora : Stabroek News
In a presentation made at the Caricom Heads of Govern-ment Conference in July, Barbadian novelist George Lamming took Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo to task for the following comment “…and now we come to the lighter side, CARIFESTA in Guyana.”There is one way to interpret these remarks, as seeing culture as entertainment to engage in when the real work is finished. It is a view that allows ‘culture’ to fall by the wayside, to be addressed only after the ‘real’ priorities of so-called development are attended to, like building roads and paying off the foreign debt. As Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott observed in his exchange with the President at the opening CARIFESTA symposium, we have heard politicians rehearse these tired arguments for years. Walcott expressed his ambivalence about a festival that asks us to celebrate the wanton disregard for our artists in a region where with few exceptions artistic endeavour is not seen as a serious vocation. Here is the ongoing lie of CARIFESTA, illustrated by the profound gap between rhetorical pronouncements and the woeful state of our institutional infrastructure supporting the arts.