Jocelyn Sylvester-Gairy Chairs Heritage Committee

Jocelyn Sylvester-Gairy

This October, the National Heritage Committee will be presenting its plan of action that will be implemented when Grenada observes National Heritage Month in April 2015.

On 5 August 2014 the Cabinet of the Government of Grenada approved the establishment of a National Heritage Committee. Heritage Minister Brenda Hood said that Jocelyn Sylvester-Gairy, who is representing the Grenada Cultural Foundation, will chair the committee. The other members include representatives from the Ministry of Culture, the UNESCO office in the Ministry of Education, Grenada National Trust, Grenada Tourism Authority, Grenada Conference of Churches, St Andrew Development Organisation, St Mark Development Organisation, St Patrick Development Organisation, St David Development Organisation, Ministry of Carriacou and Petit Martinique Affairs and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Cabinet has also authorised the committee to co-opt the support and involvement of other organisations such as the sporting and Diaspora communities.

Hood said that “Our heritage is the platform on which we build our identity and it’s fitting that structures be put in place for the general public to understand what makes us who we are, so they will appreciate it and at the same time have a better understanding why some things needs to be preserved.”

The terms of reference for the committee states that “As we endeavour to build a stronger nation, the preservation and development of our heritage is of critical importance. It gives us a much better sense of who we are and why we do what we do, and particularly in the manner it is done.”

Hood said that Heritage Month is in keeping with the tenets of our own National Cultural Policy and the observance of World Heritage Day on 18 April. “The overall goal is to create an environment for the conservation and promotion of all that is unique to the State of Grenada.”

The National Heritage Committee will seek to engage as many stakeholders as possible to plan and implement a series of activities throughout the month to:

1.         Highlight the unique intangible and tangible heritage of Grenada;

2.         To promote Pure Grenada’s Heritage among our people both home and abroad; and

3.         To create a cultural space/platform within our calendar of events that will celebrate our unique heritage on an annual basis.

Grenada is a signatory to the UNESCO Conventions which provide for the protection of intangible and tangible heritage and these pieces of international document calls for member states to create the mechanism for the protection and preservation traditions.

Intangible heritage comprise the repository of belief systems, religion, traditions, proverbs and sayings, folktales, codes of behaviour and language passed down from our ancestors, while the tangible heritage captures sites where important activities took place in the past and where we may now have established monuments.

By Linda Straker

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