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Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, has emphasised the economic benefits of embracing Virgin Islands’ culture, adding that it will provide a livelihood to the Territory’s cultural artisans.
Honorable Wheatley while speaking at the opening ceremony for Culture & Tourism Month 2020 said culture will enhance the Territory’s tourism product, and provide a livelihood to artisans. “We must do as other successful countries have done by being cultural creators and leaders” Honorable Wheatley said.
The minister explained that just as Italy has made the pizza globally recognisable, and Jamaica has profited from the popularity of reggae music, the BVI should embrace its own cultural staples and market it internationally.
He said, “We must make BVI peas soup and fish in mayonnaise sauce just as popular. We must create poets and novelists that the world reads. We must create music that the world hears. We must create fashion that the world wears. We must create visuals that the world wants to see.”
Honourable Wheatley stated that the Department of Culture intends to cultivate the market in which local artisans— including Monea, Akeem Stanley, Kristin Frazer, Extreme Band and Showtime Band—are recognised and held to the same standard as international artists.
“We must create platforms for our cultural artisans” The Minister for Culture said, adding, “We must provide workshops for our young artists to grow and develop. We must have events that expose our talent. We must help artists secure financing to expand our production and we must expose our cultural artisans to what is happening in the region in hopes of exporting our art.”
The Department of Culture serves as a focal point for the preservation and development of the culture and traditions of the Virgin Islands.