SEVERAL poorly functioning Best Village programmes were “culled” and the money redistributed to more popular ones to attract increased youth participation.
Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said this while speaking with reporters at the launch and prize-giving ceremony for the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Rienzi Kirton Highway, San Fernando, yesterday.
She said a decline in participation had been the main driving force behind the increase in prize money for the competition.
“We didn’t spend more money. What we did was redistribute the money in a way that we thought would incentivise the programme. There has been a falling-away of our young people from our traditional and social culture, so we wanted to ensure that there is a better incentive for them to become involved in this programme,” she said.
“So what we did is, we culled some of the categories that were not performing very well, where people were not really participating, and we invested the money in putting in that element.
“So last year we brought back the junior Best Village – all that without increasing the money that was spent, but really allocating the money in a way that would have the most impact.”
She said programmes such as “Clean and Beautify” had been culled, as several communities were no longer participating, owing to the work done by CEPEP and URP.She said over 500 community groups took part in the Best Village Competition and attributed this to the ministry’s social media thrust last year.
Gadsby-Dolly also said traditional mas was not dying, despite the small number of bands, as there was a “dedicated cadre” of people in the art form.
“You would have noticed that in the Queen’s Park Savannah, we have dedicated that (Carnival) Monday morning time from 9am to 12 noon, and this year it went on till one o clock, where you have traditional characters crossing the stage. So there is an interest in traditional mas, even though the bands are much smaller, they are not huge bands.” On the small showing in San Fernando, she confessed to not knowing the reason, though she said people may have travelled to Port of Spain for the Carnival.