A rich culture is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy. It is our culture that makes it possible for us to bond ourselves meaningfully to our physical and social environment and to each other. It is our culture that makes us one people.
In a small developing nation, such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it must be recognised that Culture must feature significantly in any development plan. It has become clear that even with all the advances in technology, the liberation of the innate creativity of humankind must be a prime consideration in any plans for the future of any country. Artistes have struggled for freedom; they have given a voice to the voiceless and made society aware of the opportunities for change.
The Government regards culture and the arts as vital to individual and national development and has expressed its deep commitment to the advancement of culture and cultural artistes, of arts and writers or performers of works of the creative imagination in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
As a matter of policy, Government has placed culture at the centre of national development. The challenge therefore, is to provide the institutional framework and informed cultural policy so as to enable people to find their place at the centre of their own development and devote their creativity to developing themselves and their society, and in so doing, to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
The successful launching of the NCF has heightened the expectations of persons involved in the cultural expressions and the wider vincentian population as a whole. As stated in one editorial “ The NCF will be judged on its actions not on its intentions”. The NCF has an obligation to deliver. It can only do so if the appropriate executive structure is set up to facilitate the effective functioning as an organisation with the institutional capacity to develop culture generally.
In an effort to strengthen the institutional capacity for the development of culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Government has taken the decision to establish the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
The functions of NCF are as follow:
- To stimulate and facilitate the development of dance, music, literature, drama, fine arts and culture generally;
- To develop, maintain and manage theatres, libraries and other cultural facilities and equipment provided by the government;
- To organise cultural festivals;
- To do anything necessary or desirable to assist persons interested in developing cultural expression.
The NCF is expected to impact on the policy and programmes of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and will have implications for the resources to be allocated to the Ministry for the fiscal year 2004 and beyond. The Government has pledged to provide the NCF with the financial, administrative and technical support necessary to make it function as the leader in the cultural field.
The Ministry proposes to use the year 2004 to focus on the eventual role of the NCF as the developmental arm of the Ministry, while a reorganised Department of Culture focuses on policy facilitation, formulation and coordination.