Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Culture in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has welcomed the collaboration with Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett and her team in the Ministry of Entertainment and Talent Development in the government of St. Kitts and Nevis as they chart the course for the safe re-opening and development of the entertainment industry.
Minister Byron-Nisbett, in conjunction with the Nevis Cultural Development Foundation, hosted a consultation with persons on Nevis involved in the entertainment industry on October 08, 2021 at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre (NEPAC).
During the opening ceremony, Hon. Evelyn commended his colleague in the Federal Cabinet for including the entertainers on Nevis in the plans to re-open and develop the sector. He noted that the sector has been essentially closed since the onset on the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 as protocols prohibit mass gatherings.
“I believe that this consultation is very timely because…for the past year and a half the entertainment industry here in St. Kitts and Nevis, as has been the case in the region and throughout the world, has been very much challenged and absolutely nothing much has been happening in the entertainment industry.
“I really welcome the excellent opportunity that the federal ministry is giving the entertainers here on Nevis to be here to collaborate, to ask questions… This consultation gives us an opportunity to collaborate more between the Ministry of Entertainment and Talent Development and my Ministry of Culture et al. I believe that these are two ministries that will work very closely together based on the mandate of both ministries. My Ministry thrives on collaboration and partnerships, and so we welcome the collaboration and partnership that I know will take place and I look forward very much to working with Minister Byron-Nisbett, her Ministry and her team from St. Kitts in the move to have more recognition of our entertainers,” he said.
Hon. Byron-Nisbett said the federal government empathized with those in the entertainment industry who had been heavily impacted, especially financially, by the closure of the sector. She revealed that plans for its reopening are at an advanced stage.
“We know that many of you have been hard hit by the pandemic and have had to find alternative sources of employment…We recognize that the pandemic has resulted in many of you being incapable of gaining income from your creative talents. Even before the pandemic, financing creative businesses was challenging.
“We are working with the relevant authorities to ensure the safe reopening of the entertainment industry. However, we must all be mindful that COVID-19 remains a reality, but this does not mean that a new normal for entertainment cannot be established and as such we would have put forward recommendations from the Ministry to the COVID-19 Task Force and all the other relevant stakeholders for the safe re-opening of the entertainment sector,” she said.
The Minister advised that the recommendations would have been reviewed in short order and then presented to the Cabinet for final approval, following which the outcome would be communicated to those in the entertainment industry.
Mrs. Byron-Nisbett said the consultation had achieved its purpose of garnering feedback and ideas from the industry players to craft the best solutions for the growth and development of the creative sector.
A large number of persons in the industry attended the event and asked questions and made suggestions. Attendees included calypsonians, gospel singers, performers, band members, deejays, artistes, promoters, artists, and persons from the local theatre fraternity.