Group Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Title: Writers spell out way to go
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Writers spell out way to go
Series Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Physical Description: Book
Publisher: Sunday Guardian
Publication Date: 9/24/1972
Subject: Carifesta (1st : 1972 : Guyana), Festivals - Caribbean Area
Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Trinidad and Tobago -- Port of Spain
Funding: Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA00199871
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Holding Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: CARIFESTA I 1972

Full Text

Writers spell

out way to go

rliH kay ahead for Carib-
hean Art at least, the
a' ahead as Caribbean
i'Jters sec it has been
Slelt oit in a document sub-
4ited to Guyana's Prime
LIister. Mr. Forbes Burn-
hl. for presentation to the
bead of West Indian gov-
rlillents when they meet
u Port-of-Spain next month.
The writers, who were ai
Zghea ot the Guyana Gov-
Etalcut during Carifesta
't uieclarea It a preambic
to their proposals that the
'ethuiasuic public response
t- Cariiesta and the crca-
ti potential exhibitlc
ele e as well as the oppor-
tlnityl the festival provided
tor discussion with their
tolcagues from the wider
Caribibcan. led them to
'atrne proposals for the con-
tiUed staging oi such art
Among the writers who
ca4ie from all parts of the
region were Sam Selvon
and Errol Hill from Trini-
dad, Austin Clarke from
"arbados, Robin Ravelas
froni Surinam, and Jan
Care of Guyana.
The consensus of opinion
being that the Guyana-
staged festival held the kcv
to meaningful literary and
artistic co-operation in the
region, the writers devoted
a large part of their stay
in Georgetown to discussing
the staging of future Cari-
They also recommended
certain cultural measures to
hb brought into effect in the
Period between festivals.
Stating ia the document
that the Guyana-style Cari-
festa was "an imperative
need in the area," the writ-
ers recommended that plans
be made to hold this sort
of festival every three or
four years, each in a differ-
ent territory.
In order that the tremend-
ous cost of such festivals be
shared among all the terri-
tories concerned, they
recommend the immediate
establishment of a Carib-
bean secretariat for the Arts
which would he responsible
for organising the festivals.
In addition to this role, the
writers saw the Secrelariat
as providing "the nucleus
of an institutional frame-
w\ork for the enc'ournlement
of cultural co-operalion and
contact among the various
Caribbean territories, both
English speaking and non-
Enelish speaking."
The cultuirnl co-operation

envisaged was outlined as
follows :
a) An interchange of visits
of drama groups, dance
groups, folklore groups, etc.
b) The training of person-
nel in specific branches of
the Arts, tVss training to be
carried out especially in the
smaller territories.
c) Travelling exhibitions
of Art and Literature.
d) Providing scholarship
facilities for Caribbean ar-
tists, and enabling overseas-
based Caribbean artists to
return to the region for
periods of time.
e) Implementing a pro-
gramme of Artists in Resi-
dence at university centres
throughout the region.
The writers also discussed
the role of the Caribbean
mass media in artistic
affairs and declared that
radio stations throughout the
region should be encouraged
to participate more fully in
the disseminating of Carib-
bean material.
They urged these stations
not to be afraid of crashing
the language barriers by
providing translations where
Tribute was paid to the
vibrant and enthusiastic
participation of writers and
artists fromn the nownEnglish-
speaking Caribbian aind it
was regretted that such
cultural activity hadu heen
like a closed book to the
English-speakinu Caribbean
As a solution, sc\?ral
speakers saw a tri lingual
Caribbean (English. French,
and SpanlshO as a longa-erm
ideal, that, glen the co-
operation of primary srhils,

should not be too difficult
to realise. However "no
recommendations were made
on this point, as only prac-
tical, immediate steps were
being called for.
Discussions on a publish-
ing house for the region was
perhaps the most difficult
subject that the writers
grappled with, and in the
words of one participant,
the debate produced "a lot
of heat but little light." Fin-
ally, after lengthy discus-
sions, .e writers agreed.
that there were many areas
on which they needed en-
lightenment before making
conclusions. Consequently,
their document had this to
say :
"Conscious of the great
need ,or a Publishing House
in the region, we recommend
that at the earliest possible
opportunity a commission be
established to investigate
how the work of artists cou d
be published aid promoted
in e Caribbean area.
"We are concerned with
publishing not only at text-
book level for primary and
secondary schools, but also
for the developing audiences
in Adult Education groups
and for the general pubulct
"We propose that this
study should investigate
inans of co-operation with
existing pub-ishing houses
in the region and abroad,
as \\ell as with Caribbean
book-sellers. with a view tol
ensuring a wider and more I
agi'ressiv promotion of
Caribbean work,"

The reference to existing
publishing houses in the
legion pointed to small
'eumcrprl'se, like Sa\acou in
JAnalica,. \\hlcn te UtvctTiuR,
.saw aa very gignilicant.

"We shall all feel happy
if we can create a Carib-
bean that will make it
possible for all our writers
and artists abroad at the
moment to come back home
and live and make their con-
tribution right here in the

The document also speaks
of the importance of the
region's growing film indus-
try anu proposes that tne
Secretariat to be formed in-
clude in its programme,
plans for the development
and production of document.
tary films on Caribbean art
and culture.
The writers rounded of
the document by expression1
appreciation to Guyana':
Prime Minister Mr. Forbe
Burnham, lor the Part he
played in staging Carifest;
It Is interesting to note
that the idea of Carifest;
was born from a Promis,
made by Prime \Iiniste
Forbes Burnham hintself t
a group of Caribbean wril
ers invited to Guyana to
its Independence celebra
tons in 1966.
These writers, amon1
whom were Trinidad's San
Selvon and the Barbadia
novelist, George Lammini
asKed Mr. Burnham if, "b
virtue of his love for th
arts," he could undertak
to stage an arts festival o
a Caribbean-wide basis.
Mr. Burnham agreed, ant
as he himself said in i
speech to writers and ar
ists at the University o
Guyana earlier this ihonth
"I kept the promise in min
and I renewed it to th
writers during our Republ
celebrations in 1970.
"It was something we felt
we had to do. Guyana is
tully committed to support-
in, the arts in the Carib-
bean, and will do so finan-
cially if need be, despite
our meagre resources. In
this way Guyana is no dif-
tlrent from any other Carib-
bean territory.

Meanwhile, Carifesta '72-
Which ran in 'Georgetown
from August 25 to Septem.
ber 15 is in no difficulty
about a successor. In fact
the difficulty might be ir
selecting one from among
the volunteers.
Reliable sources at the
festival stated that both
Jamaica and Cuba were in-
terested in providing the
next venue, and the cele-
brated folklorist and choreo-
grapher of the Haitian
group, Lavinia Williams,
told a festival audience:
"We are excited about this
great meeting of Caribbean
peoples and cultures. We
very much hope that the
next Carifesta will be in
Port au Prince" (the Haitian
So in the light of events.
tne document of the Carib-
bean writers has already
found the right atmosphere
in literary and artistic
But what of the Go\ I n-
ments who have to play a
part in the financing and
organising of the project ?
It is because of this factor
that the reaction of the
heads oT Wcs( Ti;ian states
Is eagerly awaited.

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