Revised national cultural policy in St. Kitts and Nevis to underscore value of national identity


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – While discussing the importance of a revised national cultural policy, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture Stanley Knight defined culture as “the combined experiences, values, beliefs, norms and goods that define a people.”

“I think that the cultural policy is the document, the vision, [that] informs the value on how it [culture] benefits us,” said Knight on the government’s weekly “Working for You” Jan. 17. He explained that a revised cultural policy is being developed to help people understand that culture not only has intrinsic value, but extrinsic value as well.

He said that the cultural policy encompasses a number of pillars that include culture as national identity, the understanding of culture as part of the international society, setting a cultural benchmark for social norms, capitalizing on the creation of economic activities that are culture driven, and defining the uniqueness of the culture in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Knight stated that the importance of knowing and understanding history is a part of forming a comprehensive national cultural policy. He said that one of the initiatives the Department of Culture has embarked on is a research project to form a registry for intangible heritage in the federation. This project is being funded through a grant given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

He also spoke about possible solutions that the department is considering for issues experienced with venues for various cultural events while mentioning that the department has consulted an architectural firm to design a concept for a multifunctional cultural centre that will allow up to 7,500 hours of use to the public in a year for recreational purposes as well as to host major cultural events. The proposed cultural arts centre is to be designed with the idea of being an economic driver for the Department of Culture and a community space the public can use for both business and recreation.

The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute at the University of the West Indies was also commissioned to conduct an economic impact assessment on the economic gains from the 2017 Carnival period in St. Kitts and Nevis. The study, when completed, will provide further critical information needed in the formation of the revised national cultural policy.