By S. Williams

Repairs are being made to improve the Cultural Village, part of the 2017 Nevis Culturama festivities scheduled to take place from July 27 to Aug. 8, said Abonaty Liburd, Executive Director of the Culturama Secretariat at Nevis Island Administration (NIA).

“The venue right now is very dilapidated. The structures that are there are old and there are a number of structures that have not been occupied by the owners for a number of years,”  Mr. Liburd stated. “The present structures look very unsightly. We have an issue with rodents and pests and so we want to go in and clear out all of those old booths that have not been used for years and fumigate the entire compound and come back in and replace the structures and to kind of give it a festive look.”

According to Liburd the improvements would include taking out the booths currently there and replacing them with containerized structures that would be customized into booths. The interior walls will be painted and the lighting improved on the site. The visibility of performances on stage will also be improved by lowering the height of the stage and adding stage lighting. Two additional dressing rooms will also be added, which would now bring the total to four.

When questioned about improvements to the Cultural Complex itself and the addition of a cover that would shelter spectators from rain, Liburd said this will not be happening.

“I have travelled around the region and I’ve seen festivals around the region. I’ve witnessed carnival in Trinidad which this say is the greatest fete on earth next to Rio. And the Savannah in Trinidad does not have a cover. And in St. Kitts the carnival city does not have a cover. In St. Maarteen both the French side and the Dutch side the villages do not have a cover,” he said.

“I don’t see the need for it. I’ve gone to Antigua for carnival; the stage is not covered so I don’t see the need for it. The spectators in all of these countries sit down and if rain comes they have to get up and move somewhere else so I don’t see the big song and dance about covering the cultural complex. I was in Monsterrat about two years ago, the same thing applies so I really don’t see why there’s this big song and dance about oh cover the complex.

“It’s just unfortunate that Culturama during the rainy season and we are not going to be changing that just because of rain. What I can tell you is that we looked at doing some covering in 2013 or 2014 for the 40thanniversary of Culturama. And we had someone advising us from Texas. Someone came down from Texas to advise us.

“At the end of the evaluation and looking at the possibilities the advisors know it’s going to cost millions of dollars because of the topography. If the land was not sloping, like a flat area, but because you have the land sloping and you have different levels it will be very costly. In the event of a hurricane I remember the technical person who came down from Texas advising us that if there is a hurricane the entire is just going to fall.

“So it’s not feasible at all. If we were on a level area it would have been much easier and we would have done that a long time ago. But the complex as it is in terms of the topography does not lend itself to being covered.”

For this year activities to be hosted at the renovated Cultural Village will include the opening of Culturama, the semi-finals for the senior calypso contest, the semi-finals and the finals for the soca monarch contest, a DJ competition and the closing ceremony for Culturama. This year will also boast a committee in place that would focus on organizing events to be staged at the Cultural Village so that booth owners at the Village would have equal opportunity like booth owners at the Complex when in terms of money making opportunities.