ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- Lawyer Arley Gill, who was Grenada’s culture minister when the Aunty Tek Spice Word Festival was inaugurated in 2010, has expressed regret at the cancellation of this year’s event.
“It is regrettable that the government and the ministry do not see it fit enough to stage the Spice Word Festival this year,” former Senator Gill said.
The Spice Word Festival, held in October for the past two years, was cancelled this year because of lack of funds, said acting chief cultural officer, Thomas Matthew.
However, Gill argued that if “sufficient effort was made,” he believes the festival could have been hosted this year, even a scaled down version of it.
He said the festival was not without its financial challenges in years one and two.
But it was sustained through “creativity and perseverance,” and with support from entities like St George’s University and the National Lotteries Authority that “played an integral role” in executing the Spice Word Festival, Gill added.
He is desirous of seeing a return of the Spice Word Festival that was designed to give Grenadian authors and poets “their own cultural space” in spoken word, penmanship and the dramatic arts.
There is no indication as yet on whether the Camerhogne Folk Festival, which is held in December in St Patrick, will take place this year.
The Camerhogne Festival, like Spice Word, was introduced in 2010.
Meanwhile, Gill has said that he empathizes with workers at La Source Resort and other businesses that have been losing their jobs.
“It’s unfortunate and an additional burden on workers and families,” said Gill.
In addition to La Source, other businesses recently retrenching workers include Singer, Island Security, LIAT and the Grenada Breweries Ltd.
The Technical and Allied Workers Union is also negotiating separation packages for some employees who are facing dismissal from LIME, the telecommunications provider.
The Grenada government has put the unemployment number at 31 percent.
However, trade union and private sector officials claim that the figure is between 40 and 50 percent.