CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, welcomed Nevisian born Dr. Arthur France MBE to Nevis at his Pinney’s Estate Office when the celebrated son-of=the- soil, who resides in Leeds, England, paid him a courtesy visit on July 25.
“I just want to extend very warm greetings to Arthur France MBE, who is quite famous not only in England but here as well,” Braley said. “He is the man credited for founding the Leeds Carnival.”
“We welcome you home, this is not welcome to Nevis, this is welcome home,” the Premier said. “We are delighted to have you here with us,” he said after locking Dr. France in a warm and friendly embrace.
Dr. France, who is in Nevis with his wife and grandchildren at the invitation of the Nevis Island Administration, will officiate during the opening festivities for the 44th Culturama at the Cultural Village on Thursday, July 26. The festivities, with the theme “Fete, Food & Folklore, Culturama 44!” conclude on Aug. 7. under the patronage of Mr. Cleffrin “Shine” Daniel of Fountain Village.
In response to the Premier Brantley’s welcome, Dr. France said he was honoured to be back home.
“For me it’s a pleasure and an honour to be here because Nevis is the island that shaped my destiny,” Dr. France said.
“I was born in Nevis. I had a great mother and father and I think the education system in Nevis is second to none and that’s what made me the person I am,” Dr. France explained. “The teachers, and in our culture the community brings up the child; not just the parents and this is what the world is losing out on.”
In 2017, Dr. France was honoured by the NIA during the 50th anniversary of the Leeds West Indian Carnival. A team comprising of a cross section of cultural performers accompanied by then Premier of Nevis, presented Mr. France with a plaque in recognition of his contribution to Nevis culture.
The celebrated Nevisian was born in Mount Lily but migrated to England in 1957. He recalled that as a child at the age of five he was walking the village road holding on to his mother’s dress when he listened to the Big Drum coming up the road and never got it out of his head.
He said he always wanted to play, but his parents wouldn’t let him. It was not until he migrated he was able to fulfil that dream and after many hurdles and determination what began as a small cultural event with others from the Caribbean, evolved into the famous West Indian Carnival in Leeds. The event has, over time, become the most prevalent carnival in Europe.