Minister of Culture Myron Walwyn said he has great confidence in the ability of the new chairman of the state-owned Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee, adding that there is no animosity between himself and the immediate past chair.
News emerged yesterday that Trefor Grant has replaced Kishma Baronville who relinquished the top festival committee post close to the end of 2016.
“The post became vacant at the turn of the year. Ms Baronville performed extremely well in her duties, and I am very grateful to her for the leadership that she gave to the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee during her tenure,” Walwyn told BVI News Online.
Asked if there is any bad-blood between himself and Baronville, he declared: “Absolutely not; absolutely not.”
Walwyn, in the meantime, said Grant was the first potential appointee that came to mind recently regarding the chairmanship of the festival committee.
Grant, the minister added, was not reluctant in serving at the helm of the committee, which oversees the annual staging of the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival, as well as the Emancipation Festival on Tortola.
“Grant was chosen because he has a lot of years of experience in festival, and he has been the sub-committee chair for many festivals before, and he carried out those duties extremely well. He very often went above and beyond what was expected of him. When the chairmanship became available, he was the first person that came to mind to take the helm of festival,” Walwyn told BVI News Online, adding that the appointment of Grant is for three years.
The minister declined to comment on the ideas he expects Grant to bring to the table; that is because he is yet to discuss plans with the new appointee.
But Walwyn admitted that, going forward, the staging of more fundraisers is among the major targets – as well as ensuring the festivities are more cultural and more cost-effective.
He explained: “I would say that the issue with the funding of festival is one that we continue to grapple with. The government absolutely takes responsibility for the outstanding things that the Virgin Islands Festival and Fairs Committee has above and beyond the allocated subvention. That has been the case from the start; this arrangement even predates me as minister. That, in and of itself, is an indication that the money that is normally allocated in the budget [for the festivals} is insufficient.”
“One of the things we have to do is look at the overall festivities – all of them in the territory – to see how we can make them more cost-efficient; to see where we might duplicate efforts; and perhaps look at how we can add additional flavour to each of them, bringing out of course the culture and the heritage of the Virgin Islands. What I will encourage the committee to do as well, is to try to do as many fundraising activities as they can. We have started to do that, and I want to encourage them to continue to do it,” Walwyn said.
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