As part of its commitment to sustainable development in Guyana, Culture Minister Dr Frank Anthony said, his ministry will be holding special workshops for emerging writers in schools as well as establishing a Music School during the year.
As the budget debate ran into its second day yesterday, Dr Anthony, who also holds the ministerial portfolio for Youth and Sport, declared that young people are “the primary beneficiaries of this budget”. He indicated that there had been several initiatives which sought to particularly target youths. Among these are special programmes equipping them to deal with social issues.
Responding to concerns raised by PNCR-1G MP Africo Selman on Monday regarding the absence of a National Youth Policy, Anthony said there is currently a National Youth Policy. Anthony said that the ministry will be moving to upgrade the policy this year with the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Meanwhile, regarding the establishment of the music school, Anthony said it was observed that persons had limited opportunity to learn practical and theoretical music within the country. A specialized team has been developing a curriculum even as the instruments have already been procured. According to Anthony, shortly, the ministry will be recruiting the teachers to start this programme.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport will be sponsoring a special essay competition in schools and the writers of the best 30 essays will be trained during a creative writing workshop to be held in August. This workshop will be conducted by UK-based Guyanese Professor David Dabydeen. During the workshop the children will develop creative pieces which will be performed in December 2010 at the Festival of Words in honour of National Poet Martin Carter. These pieces will then be published, the minister said.
“We feel that this investment by the government will not only help to preserve our rich literary legacy but will also develop a new generation of writers and poets,” Anthony said.
The minister also outlined specific efforts being undertaken to improve the National Museum and the Walter Rodney Archives, which he emphasised, were being treated as very important entities in the country.
Further, Anthony announced that his ministry is also committed towards developing theatre in the country. He said that it is seeking to arrange a national drama festival to have playwrights and actors display their talents. He said this would be held at the National Cultural Centre (NCC). He added that plans are also in the pipelines for the establishment of a National Theatre School at the NCC He also added that repairs on the roof of the NCC will be done this year.
Additionally, Anthony said that the ministry’s effort in developing sports infrastructure has been gaining momentum. The minister pledged that the long-awaiting Olympic-sized pool “will be fully operational by the middle of this year”. He said that this had been delayed due to the lack of technical expertise on the part of the local contractors, but he said they have since collaborated with an international firm.
Work on the racquet centre on Woolford Avenue is ongoing and phases should be completed during the year. In addition, Anthony said it is expected with the assistance from a donor agency, a Resource Centre, which will house a library and conference facility, will be erected.
“In 2010 our flagship infrastructure programme will be the development of a synthetic athletics track,” the minister said. The Guyana Amateur Athletic Association is a partner in this project, he added, while noting that a design firm was already hired and following a feasibility study of four sites, one site has been recommended.