Barbadian talent, design skills and competitive nature will all be allowed to come to the fore as the island transitions to a republic.
This was alluded to as Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Carol Roberts-Reifer, addressed an online press conference hosted on Thursday by Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Senator Kay McConney, to outline the plans for the country’s transition to a republic on November 30.
Noting the myriad ways this will occur, Mrs. Roberts-Reifer said the NCF had decided to take 12 songs that celebrate and/or highlight aspects of our Barbadian reality and remixed them.
With eight of these Bajan nation-building songs already completed and the remainder soon to be finished, she said this project was expected to be launched today, Saturday, November 20.
Expressing pleasure at the songs, she stressed: “I really hope that radio stations across the island; Barbadians, wherever you are, you find one, two, several, or all of the songs that you love, and just play them as loudly and as lustily as possible. And we were particularly pleased with this project and how it has turned out because the new arrangements also showcase the creativity and the innovation of our artists and music producers.”
Children will not be left out as there is the My Barbados, Our Future competition, where they will be asked to submit an essay on “What kind of Barbados do you want for yourself and future generations?” and an accompanying video of them reading the essay.
It will be an online competition, where those between ages seven and 12 will be judged by a small panel, and the top 55, because of our 55th anniversary, will each win a tablet, with every child receiving a certificate of participation.
Additionally, there will be a competition for Barbadian households to decorate the interior and exterior of their homes and win prizes.
Noting that some had already started this type of decoration for Independence, NCF’s CEO said: “We’ve teamed up with the Starcom Network and the Road Runner and will be taking to the streets next week and visiting your homes after you’ve posted, again online, photographs of your decorations and the top five winners and then the five runners-up will all receive cash prizes.”
Mrs. Roberts-Reifer, who also noted that emphasis would be on decorating communities and roundabouts, pointed out that in 30 communities across the island, the NCF had teamed up with decorators in the parishes or constituencies.
“They have selected areas in the community; highly trafficked areas and they have decorated it. In instances where there were no decorators in the particular constituency or community, then we’ve teamed up with a local coordinator with a professional decorator and together they have come up with the themes and they’re going to be installing the decorations,” she stated.
With a number of them already completed and the remainder set to conclude this weekend, she highlighted two in St. Michael – one at Mapp Hill, and the other at Bonnetts – were already decorated. “And by Sunday morning, all across Barbados, there will be the communities that are beautifully decorated by the communities largely themselves,” she added.
Alluding to the roundabout project, the NCF official disclosed that a lot had been designed by the NCF through offering opportunities to creatives in the sector, who would have been adversely affected with the advent of COVID-19 and the series of shutdowns, the cancellation of festivals and events, to earn a living.
This project, she said, has benefitted from the input of band leaders, some masquerade designers and young professional designers, and involves 13 roundabouts, beginning at Six Roads in St. Philip and going all the way to the roundabout by the St Lucy’s Parish Church.
According to the CEO, each one is decorated based on a theme that can be linked to Barbados’ history from 1625 to 2021. Explaining, she said: “So, the roundabout dedicated to the 1625 theme pays tribute to the first peoples, and the roundabout that looks at 2021 and beyond is the roundabout that’s dedicated to innovation and transformation. In between those two historical eras, we have roundabouts dedicated to the flora and fauna of the country, to the breadbasket parishes, to education, to our multiple faiths, and then there’s a special roundabout that’s dedicated to the frontline workers and caregivers who have done us so proud and given yeoman service in the fight against COVID.”
The NCF has also produced a series of six posters as keepsakes for Barbadians called “My Country To Me”. Mrs. Roberts-Reifer said the NCF, working with six graphic artists, “who were sidelined or slightly or severely depending on their circumstances” because of COVID, came up with related designs and together have printed 6,000 of the posters.
“They’re being distributed across the island. Several local businesses and distributors have come on board with us and as their merchandisers go into the trade, they are going to be offering the posters to shops and outlets and salons across the island, and of course you can also come to the NCF and collect your posters,” she stated.