By Hudson George
It is very good to see the organisers of White in the Moonlight came out and make a statement thanking the people who attended their annual carnival fete in La Poterie, St Andrew, in spite the fact that Grenada Spice Mas Corporation tried very hard to get rid of that entertainment activity, for whatever reasons, we can only speculate as Grenadians.
Hudson George has a BA in Social Science from York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been writing since his early teenage years and now contributes letters and articles to a number of Caribbean newspapers
Whatever was the reason why Grenada Spice Mas Corporation took that harsh attempt to get rid of White in the Moonlight’s annual carnival fete, Grenadians must be aware that in all aspect of our culture activities, there is always victimisation based on politics and who is friend with whom, and it was always like that as far as I can remember. However, in this changing world we are living in, it is very important for all sensible Grenadians who love the Tri Island State, to come out openly and oppose that form of victimisation in the entertainment and cultural industry.
White in the Moonlight’s conflict with Spice Mas Corporation got a lot of attention because the annual fete at Moonlight City in La Poterie is the biggest party during carnival that has no connection with the organisers of Grenada carnival. As a matter of fact the organisers of White in the Moonlight are entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry and it is possible that the conflict must have evolved through jealousy and spite, due to the fact that Grenada is a small country and sometimes people get jealous of others who they see making great success in a particular business enterprise.
However, I visited Grenada the Wednesday after carnival and based on what I heard some persons saying, there were two factors why Spice Mas Corporation wanted to get rid of the White in the Moonlight annual fete at Moonlight city. Some of the folks I talked to told me that the conflict came about due to political reasons and others were saying to me that some persons with great influence within the Spice Mas Corporation only care about carnival activities for the capital city St George’s and their main goal is to bring all carnival activities that can generate financial success in the parish of St George.
Now based on what those persons I spoke to believe created the conflict, if they are correct, therefore, Grenada is still badly divided and it seems as though some of the educated folks particularly in the urban centres are still caught up in the old colonial mentality that rural activities must be all about planting nutmeg, cocoa and bananas. And anything else that is not agricultural based must be in the town of St George. And maybe they still believe that we are living in the colonial era, when our society functioned on the concept that divides rural from urban.
White in the Moonlight becomes the biggest carnival fete in the Spice-Isle, due to the fact that there are as many Grenadians living in the Diaspora, as much as there are in Grenada itself. In addition, most Grenadians living in the Diaspora were born in the rural communities outside St George’s. White in the Moonlight’s annual event is held in the biggest parish St Andrew, with the second largest population and also it shares borders with other parishes with good road communications.
However, with the geographical location of the big parish St Andrew, it is impossible for Spice Mas Corporation with its organisation based in the capital city St George’s to attract a bigger crowd audience than White in the Moonlight when party people come out to have fun and dance to soca, calypso and jab-jab music in the carnival celebration.
As it is obvious to see that everything about entertainment and culture has links to politics. Now I am hearing former Minister of Culture Arley Gill criticising the cancellation of this year 2012 Aunty Tek Spice Word Fest. But according to what officials within the Ministry of Culture are saying, they cannot host the event, due to the lack of funding.
However, Mr Gill has a valid right to criticise the cancellation of that literary event and he must be given credit for organising the first Spice Word Fest in Grenada, when he was the minister of culture.
On the other hand, Mr Gill can face a lot of criticism by local artistes who his ministry ignored due to political reasons too, because it will be impossible for the ministry of culture to promote spoken words artistes whose lyrics are not government friendly, although they invite artistes from other Caribbean countries with radical views to perform at the events. This is a political trick they learned from the People’s Revolutionary Government.
Based on our political culture, those artistes Mr Gill and his associates ignored in an event such as Spice Word Fest and Camerhogne Festival are not saying anything, and most likely they are waiting for when another political party comes to power, to get the opportunity to participate in cultural activities organised under a different minister of culture. Unfortunately, this kind of cultural mentality in Grenada will never enhance and promote our culture to the highest standard.
Too many good artistes’ talents are not getting recognition in Grenada, due to politics and this is one of the reasons why our young people are gravitating to ghetto cultures from Jamaica and the United States.
With this type of political culture in Grenada where politics and politicians are always involved controlling culture, the conflict between entertainment promoters, artistes and the government will continue. Government officials always try to control art and culture because of fear. They are afraid that the power of art coming from artistes will divert the masses of people from them and that will affect their grip to control state power.
While the music promoters are trying to make a dollar and artistes are performing on stage with the intention of making sure that their audience can connect with them with lyrical contents and the music as a backup, little do they know that they are making the politicians uncomfortable, especially in a country as Grenada, where private enterprise is not totally liberated from state control rules.
However, let us hope that those who used their powers within Spice Mas Corporation to ignite that senseless conflict with the organisers of White in the Moonlight will learn a lesson and come to their senses that not all cultural activities suit certain locations. And maybe they should go back and make a study of Easter Water Parade that was held in St George’s during the late Eric Gairy era and bring back that event in St George’s, and stop fighting against rural people’s entertainment. It is time that they realise that the soul of the nation is in the rural communities of our tri-island state.