Arts and Culture, the Serious and NOT so Serious

National Performing Arts Centre

National Performing Arts Centre located in Trinidad It does not take much to conclude who is serious about the Arts (Culture).

36 thoughts on “Arts and Culture, the Serious and NOT so Serious

  1. It’s a pretty impressive building. Barbados could very well have had one like that with the savings had by not paying rent to a land lord to house the absolutely useless Min. of Culture. What is the cost of maintaining that Ministry anyway when there is already a National Cultural Foundation ..?

  2. We beg to differ. Like everything else in the Karibbean there is whosesale copying from a similar building in Australia. We think its somewhere in Sydney, if we rightly recall. Serious about the arts cannot follow the same path as the rest of the colonial cultural mentality. How come they couldn’t build a centre like a steel pan, for example. The pan as a circle represents a lot about Africa, about India and the indigenous peoples of these parts. Tha copying colonial mentality will lead nowhere.

  3. Both the BLP and DLP must – within less than 4 and a half years – be permanently removed by the broad masses and middle classes of this country, or else Barbados will – on this current trajectory – and in the next 8 and a half to 13 and a half years – become in multifarious ways like Jamaica has been since the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and through to now.


  4. Pacha,

    In as much as I always find it easy to see your point of view, I do believe that the project was a Chinese initiative, and that probably means everything from finance, to labour, including design and engineering.

    The Antiguans recently erected a monument of Vivian Richards. The statue was designed with pads that have two (and not three) cross bands. This is because it was designed and built by natives of a non-cricket playing jurisdiction .. Cuba.

    My point is that the overseas agencies that Cuban and Chinese tax payers support operate in the interest of Cuban and Chinese talent, know how and labour. These agencies effect the flagship campaign that allow for national foot print is left in foreign territories.

    Why the fcuk can’t our foreign agencies operate in the same way .. huh?

  5. Colleagues, This is the same NAPA POS which I commented critically against in ‘FOREIGN AFFAIRS’ – As a culture-lover it is critical to note that PM Manning gave priority to NAPA – which was designed to facilitate his concepts of a Philharmonic Orchestra etc. – yet to this day we do not have a proper place to celebrate the culture of Carnival and Pan which is enjoyed by the mass of T&T citizens in our tens of thousands…that is painful truth at the heart of this racket…
    Afra Raymond

  6. Serious about Arts & Culture? Why don’t we fix what we have before casting envious eyes at our neighbours across the Caribbean? Let’s start with the main library in Bridgetown last time I saw it there was a small tree growing from the parapets, why don’t we renovate/repair before that building collapses around us?

    Let’s focus on the bread the circus can come later.

  7. In yesterday’s Tuesday, March, 4, 2014, Daily Nation newspaper there is a letter that was published over the name of a Wolde Tinsae Prescod.

    Entitled Politics vs Economics (and it very sad that we used to subscribe to that foolishness too), the writer of this feeble narrative did give the central idea to the reader that there are some local political personalities who have at different times personally politically used some grounding in economics to realize certain perceived political advantages for themselves and many others in the party/political system (Tom Adams, Errol Barrow, Owen Arthur), while some others have in their own times too personally politically deemphasized the significance of economics in order to achieve certain other perceived political advantages for themselves and some others in the said party/political system (Freundel Stuart, David Thompson, Chris Sinckler).

    Although the letter was given great prominence in the letter section of the newspaper, the editor/s seemed to have been more impressed by its measly political psychological emotional pointers rather than to have been unimpressed by the very fundamental flaws in its construction and in some of the arguments that are contained in it.

    Let us just list four of these many construction argument flaws:

    1) The writer failed to tell the careful reader to what extent did any of those personalities – in either up playing or down playing politics or economics – manage – and in conjunction with other relevant variables (party performance in government/ voting support, etc) – to help secure or maintain or demit political office at given times;

    2) The writer failed to take the careful reader to his own conclusion as to whether which one – as is idealized or as is practiced by thousands of people in this country – is better than the other for the further development of this country – Prescod must have told the reader to what ends was he serving when he dealt with his false thesis;

    3) The writer failed to point out that politics gave birth to economics, so to speak, and has never and will never escape controlling economics – thus it being impossible for economics to do the reverse – control politics – he thus failed to identify the local international customs, rules, regulations the controlling environments within which his false supposition thesis has been constructed formulated;

    4) The writer failed to signal that, specifically, the type of politics and the type of political organization of material change transfers and the type of political organization of the uses of money in this country have brought about and are continuing to bring about massive problems – some very irreversible – for the growth and development of Barbados – Thus he also failed to argue for a new model of development for this country, and a new and effective language and logic, et al, to facilitate its implementation.

    Surely Wolde Tinsae Prescod must do better than simply pander to silly narrow psychological political manuoverings mirages of these particular personalities.


  8. Oh shite Afra Raymond, I see your point.

    The problem is of course, if left to the private sector, some types of projects like the same Performing Arts Centre would never see the light of day. Unfortunately for those of us who live in this part of the world, the only type of development that we are afforded is that which relates to becoming a better MARKET for whatever is on offer from the domestic private sector and the related Political entities. For Governments to engage the local private sector in the design/buildout projects would still allow for the same types of infelicities to occur, and at a higher price to tax payers. Oh no ..!


    What circus … Do you not think that circuses form attractions that encourage economic activity ..? Should maintenance not form part of a standard government campaign …? The two issues are not related. Go back to sleep … do

  9. @BAFBFP
    Afra Raymond just demolish your argument and you tell me to go back to sleep, if I am asleep you must be comatose. T & T build a building and still doesn’t have one to suit their needs but we must keep up with the Joneses , I am not arguing against maintenance, I am saying let’s fix what we have and then focus on other things, the last thing we need is an over budget white elephant costing more in upkeep than it generates in revenue.

    I thought that you were a proponent of businesses that generate revenue but you like you don’t know paint from glue.

    • Sargeant’s comment is atypical to how many English Caribbean people view Arts and Culture. The day when we see cultural expression and the practicioners who falitate it as integral to our wholesomeness as a people, we would have arrived.

    • @Sargeant

      To your last point T&T is light years ahead of Barbados, it must seen in relative terms.

  10. @David
    Sargeant’s comment is atypical to how many English Caribbean people view Arts and Culture
    Please don’t generalise, Isn’t wishing for a decent library built in a style reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century an expression of support for Arts & Culture?

    I just don’t think now is the time for Gov’t to engage in grandiose proposals to satisfy the whims of a privileged few.

  11. Sargeant still sleeping then .. so he can’t go back. He sleep writing. When he wakes he will understand the difference between extravagance and attraction. An attraction or that which draws attraction to a particular type of activity creates wealth for the participants. Design, as attractions go is key. Sargeant is the only person that is speaking about extravagance here … Stupse.

    Pacha says that the design was inappropriate … an opinion. But what if the design was offered as part of a package deal …?

    Raymond might well have been agreeing with me that Foreign Affairs responsibility should be that of finding opportunities for local expertise in foreign territories. In the same way that the Chinese were able to create an opportunity for its citizens to participate in the development of Trinidad, the Trinidadian Foreign Affairs people should be in a position to claim a similar success in Venezuela. But Raymond tends to focus on transparency.. so I followed his lead

    • @Sargeant

      On what basis have you determined that growing the Arts and Culture segment is fo the benefit of a few? Didn’t the government just pass a whole Cultural Industries Bill? What will it take to give life to the legislation you think. Why do you think it is about repairing the library? Perhaps if the government was serious about the Arts they would see Coleridge building more as a historical and heritage site and not just a library. By the way the library is functioning at the old Modern Life building independence way.

  12. LOL
    Wunna arguing with Sargeant? …Mr. Conservative “let’s not expect too much” himself?
    He is correct about our seeming inability to maintain anything in good repair, …but how he manages to tie this to the lack of vision in focusing on DEVELOPMENTAL infrastructure in Arts, Sport and culture?? ….only the Sarge himself knows…

    His is not to reason why…
    his is but to do and die ….for the status quo.

  13. So that people (BAFBFP/David/BushT) don’t pretend to misunderstand / misrepresent/misinterpret what I have written.

    I am not against any development in the area of Arts & Culture; I am against any profligate spending in the erection of edifices to support same in pursuit of that goal because Trinidad has one. Time and again this blog has been full of righteous indignation about the excessive spending that has been the hallmark of this and past Gov’ts with the resulting outcome that Bajan children will know what IMF means before they learn their ABC’s.

    I have provided the reasons I am against such a project, let me hear how you envisage how such a building will work to the benefit of all Bajans and please no empty platitudes like “development Infrastructure” or “attractions that encourage economic activity”. I want to know your plans for when the rubber hits the road.

    • @Sargeant

      The Arts build out in Barbados is at a nascent stage moreso if compared to T&T. Investment in infrastructure must factor affordability of course but it is an emerging sector which we cannot continue to ignore. The traditional economic model cannot sustain the standard of living of Barbados. The Arts represent an opportunity to build a new economic sector and at the same time afford Barbados the opportunity to create an avenue for its people to freely express themselves with dignity.

  14. Sargeant I ain’ telling you squat, partly because I am currently involved with a project that should expose the nonsense that you are on about and partly because I do not recall anyone claiming that a similar building should be erected in Barbados. We have a couple of out door theaters, and the Grand Salle indoor effort. There is still a movement on to outfit the Empire and the various school halls and Queens park have been used to good effect. But the Performance and Visual Arts still lack a genuine impetuous to create an atmosphere within which the participants can make a consistent living. If a centre the likes of what is now in Trinidad magically appeared in Barbados, I would certainly come up with a number of ways that it could be employed and made part of the Barbados product.

  15. @ Sargeant | March 5, 2014 at 3:39 PM |
    “I am against any profligate spending in the erection of edifices to support same in pursuit of that goal because Trinidad has one…
    I have provided the reasons I am against such a project, let me hear how you envisage how such a building will work to the benefit of all Bajans…”

    But Sarge, why are you so worried about any profligate spending or the erection of ‘blackened’ elephants for the poor taxpayers’ to sit upon?

    We have been told by your favourite Minister of Finance that the DLP administration has secured grant funding from the Chinese for the building of a performing Arts Centre at Brandons to be started “shortly” since August 2011.

    Shouldn’t you be inquiring on the status of this project as a gift from the generous cash rich Chinese?

    • Professor Henry Fraser’s contribution to Senate debate makes for interesting listening and fits well with those of the view the limitless opportunities the Arts sector present.To make it a reality it calls for outside the box thinking.

    • @Sargeant

      Let us do a deeper dive of your concern about being frugal in the guava season. Why is it in 2014 we have our MoT explaining that Barbados will have to find the money to invest in jet bridges for the GAIA? Is tourism our ONLY forex earner? If yes what prevented/prevents the government seeing this as a priority and mobilizing? In fact he stated it was not uncommon for Goddards food van which has a lift to be seen facilitating the deplaning of a handicapped incoming passenger. And you speak about priorities? We don’t know what a national priority is if it slammed us in the face.

  16. @Miller
    We have been told by your favourite Minister of Finance……
    Favourite? Hardly, let me try this one more time I am all for Arts and Culture, if the Chinese want to finance such a building why look a gift horse in the mouth?

    Perhaps you can get your Ms. Bradshaw (culture critic) to raise the subject during the next sitting of the House.

  17. @ Sargeant | March 5, 2014 at 6:50 PM |
    “Perhaps you can get your Ms. Bradshaw (culture critic) to raise the subject during the next sitting of the House.”

    Why Ms Bradshaw? Why not Minister Stephen Lashley the substantive minister responsible for “Culture”?

    Are you implying “our’ favourite Minister of Finance is a reliably consistent stranger to the truth and as a Minister of the Crown we should put as much faith in his words as we should do to those emanating from the holy mouth of those of the cloth?

    The following is what you were told by the ‘preferred’ MoF and validated by the Minister of Culture in August 2011:
    “To this end, it would be remiss of me to let pass this opportunity to inform the country that following months of analysis and consultation, this government has decided to move ahead with the construction of a brand new multi-purpose state of the art Cultural and Performing Arts Centre.
    It is expected that the Centre will be financed and constructed through a grant from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and it is proposed that it will be located, once the Town Planner approves, on the land at Spring Garden opposite the Brandon’s Beach facility in the constituency of St. Michael North West. Further details on that too will be revealed shortly.”

  18. I seem to remember BU rubbishing the new court complex as, essentially, an edfice for non-law. Me, if we have the money and it’s not going to mean sending home, then build. But what precisely are we building it for? We don’t have a ‘royal ballet’; we don’t have a symphony orchestra; we don’t have an opera company (Pacha please note) – indeed all these things are, apparently, taboo on the ground of non-blackness. So….?

  19. Puns for Educated Minds
    1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.He acquired his size from too much pi.
    2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian ..
    3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
    4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
    5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
    6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
    7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum blown apart.
    8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
    9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
    10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
    11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
    12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’
    13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
    14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’
    15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
    16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
    17. A backward poet writes inverse.
    18. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
    19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
    20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris , you’d be in Seine ..
    21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’
    22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says ‘Dam!’
    23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
    24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’
    25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
    26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did

  20. @David
    Man gih muh a brek nuh! I got BAFBFP;Bushie;Miller and you ganging up on me like I am the de facto defender of the Gov’t when nothing could be further from the truth..

    However you seem to be mixing up apples and oranges or guavas and golden apples, because I am against wunnah pet project doesn’t mean I am against activities or facilities that assist in the earning of the precious FOREX. I understand the inconvenience suffered by handicapped persons due to the lack of services to assist them in their travels or daily tasks and know that the lack of accessibility can harm development of tourism.

    Recently a family member who has a slight handicap arrived at GAIA and had to exit the plane through the back door due to where she was seated, however the vehicle which picked up the other passengers was at the front of the plane and she had to make the trek to the terminal on her own steam.

    These things require some number crunching but is there really a need for jet bridges? Wouldn’t a wheel chair lift do the job?

  21. @Miller
    I referenced the fair lady because I understand that she is the culture critic of the Opposition and I was supplying arrows for her quiver. BTW since it will be at Brandons tell her not to settle for anything less than a remake of the Sydney Opera House, I want to see it in all its glory as I sail by on the Bajan Queen/Jolly Roger or the latest incarnation of party boat/rum punch cruiser.

  22. Doc … wah shite you writing man … this is a serious blog ,,, ha ha ha. BTW wah is a rubber band pistol .. huh? I know ’bout a guttaperk … Which part of the world you say you come from again …? ha ha ha.

    You know ’bout the two Kolij boys behind the school wall when the bell ring, ba ling …!

  23. Nice one GP!
    Heard this one years ago in London: Guy breaks out of an Asylum rapes a maid and takes off. Headline in the local newspaper next day simply says : Nut Screws Washer and Bolts!

  24. BAFBFP
    RE You know ’bout the two Kolij boys behind the school wall when the bell ring, ba ling …!


    There going to the wrong place for answers, Back to the where the crimes began,More Pain to come, better look for truth in a party that is full of lies ,

  26. Wait a minute. If my recollection is correct I think Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford conceptualised Sherbourne as a performing arts centre and in particular “a place where large orchestras could perform”. On the other hand was it also referred to as “a museum of madness” by a leading BLP politician.

    See the link below for Sir Lloyd’s lament that it was his ” own party that decided to knock that out of the plan altogether and to build office space and car park instead.

  27. Nostadamus

    Ha ha ha .. Good catch …! I wonder how such a centre would fare with a Steel Pan Orchestra performing (as Afra alluded to above)

  28. There was a time in March when Georgie Porgie wrote some things on a BU BLOG to make me laff and I actually did- LOL

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