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Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

Gilbert Laudat, Special Events Director in the Ministry of CultureAntigua, St. John’s - One of the lead figures in the fight to protect the country’s culture has said the Antiguan identity is under direct threat from other nationalities, the failure of cultural practitioners to take the art form seriously, and a lack of appreciation of many residents.

Gilbert Laudat, Special Events Director in the Ministry of Culture, made the assertions in a candid interview with Caribarena.

He said the fact that the state is multicultural should not lead to infringement on the national culture as is happening now, causing Antiguans to lose their identity.

“Some Antiguans have forgotten their own culture because they’ve adopted other cultures so the Antiguan culture has lost itself. But Antiguan culture should be above the rest,” he said, acknowledging what has been suggested publicly for some time.

Laudat cited as examples, the unpopularity of Antigua & Barbuda’s Benna music, and the preponderance of songs from other countries during Independence celebrations.

The director said the lack of interest in culture is evidenced by the poor showings at dance and singing recitals put on by his department.

He said many cultural practitioners have adopted a laissez-faire attitude by not showing interest in honing their talent or promoting themselves outside of the country.



“Our cultural practitioners sit down in their own little world ... their own zones … and expect you to go to them. I make no apologies for saying that our artistes in Antigua feel that going to a hotel and making a few dollars is it. Our calypsonians feel going to the tent and singing a song about Lester Bird and Baldwin Spencer is calypso. Calypso is more than that,” Laudat said.

This attitude, he posited, has prevented most local performers from taking advantage of the benefits of the free movement regime under the Caricom Single Market & Economy.

Artists are one of the five categories allowed to move hassle-free in Antigua & Barbuda since 2008, but few have applied for the Skilled National certificate that will allow them to benefit from the arrangement.

“I think Antigua is way behind,” he said, when asked if cultural practitioners have taken advantage of this facility.

“You see we go to these conferences, we ask for training but I don’t think training will help because they don’t implement what they learn … I strongly believe that we in Antigua think that culture is a dance troupe, a steel band, a mas troupe. No, culture is bigger than that. It is our everyday life …” he said.

The Culture Department has embarked on a drive to establish a registry of cultural practitioners, in the process helping those who registered to acquire Skilled National certificates.

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21 Comments In This Article   

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RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#21 Antigua me come from » 2013-04-13 12:31

Yes bring back culture. What about New Years Day celebration on Scott,s Row? Where John Bull, Clown and Highlander?
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Antigua me come from

Culture

#20 Celia joseph » 2013-03-16 17:31

Me lib in a new yark for about 30 years and when me family come visiting them larf how me tark and say them carn tell when Lars them hear some of the wud and them dat me use. But I work in an office and you would not believe how well I speak the queen's English. Me hab fu preserve fu me culture ar else me will be fram no man's land and me carn afford fu mek dat happen. It is my pride and dignity fu tark laka dat. Me lub um bad.
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Celia joseph

An Antiguan that wants to make a difference

#19 BFJ » 2013-02-27 15:53

It is tru that we have lost our culture but it is never to late to re-gain it. If we Antiguans had been lifting our fingers a long time ago and not let the foreigners take over then we wouldnt have been in this position. Mr. Laudat is not an antiguan but he sure is PUSHING OUR CULTURE unlike most of us. Mr. Luadat, you are doing a great job! the only exception is that practioners are not getting paid in a timely manner hence we get discouraged. Instead of everyone complaining now and blaiming one another or blaming Mr. Laudat; lets now joing together and make a difference. Lets come up with a plan and implement strategies and policies that will now hinder the foreigners from taking over. Help Mr. Laudat help Culture to help our country. IT IS NEVER TO LATE - CALL A MEETING MR. LAUDAT AND WE CAN BRAINSTORM AND START FROM THERE.
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BFJ

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#18 Elaine » 2013-02-10 15:41

They are all picking up big salaries at Culture and in many places but what have we to show? Its all about themselves, not country. God help us this election year when they don't know what will happen. Grab! grab! grab!. Not good enough for me.
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Elaine

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#17 Elaine » 2013-02-10 15:39

I agree to some extent about what Laudat has said, but hell, who is in charge of The Cultural "DEVELOPMENT" Division? Its Vaughn Walter, who is director, Namba and himself. Vaugn sits in a little office there leaving Laudat to control under Namba, the things that are important to them. Its not about culture there. Vaughn refuses to stand up to Namba (see how quiet he has been - for years? And he has a big mouth, loves to talk. But politics again, nobody wants to muddy the water. We have no leadership anywhere so yes, we'll continue to be left behind or I should say, overtaken.
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Elaine

bornya

#16 cavella » 2013-01-30 23:47

It was just a matter of time before the culture man from another country realise that he is not at home.Every time I see the Jamaican on TV I say whose culture are these people portraying.Only in Antigua you will find people who na born ya in charge of culture.They expect us to support them and I can't even understand him when he talks.Find some Anteegan to run culture pleeze.
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cavella

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#15 Avid Reader » 2013-01-29 10:59

I am amazed when you speak to Antiguans how little they realy know about the country, for that you must blame the cultural department and education department. Recently there was an article about the name Waladli, the correct name of Antigua and not Wadadli, it is amazed that the education department or culutre has never believed that it was important to teach such. As far as Antiguan artists are concerened "De Na Ready Yet", there is so much that they could do to move the country's cultural output and put a face on Benna music.
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Avid Reader

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#14 Morris » 2013-01-28 22:46

* A people that is ignorant of their history will be lost! Therefore, since our history was not, and still is not, taught in our schools we will remain lost.
* For decades we've belittled and berated our dialect and scolded our children for using it, while promoting the "Queen's English." However, it is so ironic that many people around the world find our dialect peculiar and appealing today.
* We've allowed foreign cuisines to flourish while we turn our noses at the very foods that raised us.
* We've booed many of our local talents and discouraged them from reaching their full potential, while praising and supporting foreign acts.
* We've criticized our boycotted our many of our local entrepreneurs, while giving foreign investors red carpet treatment.

Do we still need other examples why we're losing our culture?
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Morris

We as a people need to take charge

#13 Bullseye » 2013-01-28 21:05

He is right in a sense. We as a people have failed to pass on our culture to the younger generation. You walk the streets and the young boys and girls singing Jamaican Dancehall, and idolizing Vybz Kartel, Idonia, and. Yet if we were to stop to ask any of them about Soca music and who is King Short Shirt, King Swallow, King Obstinate, King Styler, they wouldn't know. The calypsonians themselves are no better, every year they sing bout politics in the calypsoes, and it is killing the artform. I was born in New York, but I lived here for most of my life even though i listen to rap, hip hop, and reggage,I would rather listen to the old time Soca and Calypso than to listen to the rubbish that they produce nowadays. Soca and Calypso is what my parents listened to growing up and I myself am glad I grew up listening to them because they are very unique, and each island have their own style of music which identifies them. Even down to the way that these kids dress and act, it is from the Jamaican, US cultures that the kids are gravitating towards too, and we do not pull them up and say hey!the way how you dress and behave is not antiguan!!
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Bullseye

OF Class; Patriotism; Populism; Subversion: Xenophobia & Electioneering Scoundrels! PT2

#12 John French II » 2013-01-28 15:51

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! It has been said that Patriotism is the Last Refuge of A Scoundrel!
It is most galling to see Xenophobes compare Singapore's Multiculturalism with What Pertains To Britain - Our Mother Country & Native Tongue Language - & France.
France under Sarkozy together with of all places Germany under Merkel declared that they were not Multicultural Nations. Are these Xenophobes Deaf & Blind or are they as the Father of the Nation proclaimed Not a Reading People. Cameron joining the Band proclaimed Multicuturalism dead in These United Kingdom. These Xenophobes are Ingenues. Not perfect but The USA is Light Years ahead of Colonial Europe!
Sadly, they are languishing in past colonial folly touting the Multicuturalism of Trinidad & Tobago as the Model. Clearly they have not visited Trinidad much less Tobago. A visit to both Islands provides a provocative kaleidoscope. Pay Attention to The Outcomes of The Last Four Elections in Tobago, its politics, economy, society & culture.
Politicians & Xenophobes should abandon this self-hate of welcoming North Atlantic's & disparaging people of African Descent.
Oh Gad! Pray Fuh Mi Picknees!
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John French II

OF Class; Patriotism; Populism; Subversion: Xenophobia & Electioneering Scoundrels!

#11 John French II » 2013-01-28 15:03

Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! 2014 Approaching, Fan The Flames Of Ignorance! Director, read Omarde's "Send Out You Hand" to understand the Problem Lies not With The Poor but rather our Black Alienated & Decentered Elite. Quote:
"Scarce any can hear with impartiality a comparison between the writers of his own & another country; & though it cannot, I think, be charged equally on all nations, that they are blinded with this literary patriotism, yet there are none that do not look upon their authors with the fondness of affinity, & esteem them as well for the place of their birth, as for their knowledge or their wit. There is, therefore, seldom much respect due to comparative criticism, when the competitors are of different countries, unless the judge is of a nation equally indifferent to both. The Italians could not ... believe that there was any learning beyond the mountains; the French seem ... persuaded, that there are no wits or reasoners equal to their own. ...if Scaliger had not considered himself as allied to Virgil, by being born in the same country, he would have found his works so much superior to those of Homer." Johnson 1751
Oh Gad!
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John French II

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#10 Reality Check » 2013-01-28 14:29

LAUDAT - that doesn't sound like an "Antiguan" last name to me. No wonder is culture is under attack. how ironic :sad:
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Reality Check

the fundamentals

#9 Jumbee Picknee » 2013-01-28 14:20

Scientific research's are now proving, that person's who communicate in more than one language, significant reduces the onset of alzheimers. This proves, that using more of your cognitive abilities will keep you mentally stable, alert and balanced.
Me garne....
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Jumbee Picknee

Antiguan culture

#8 JD » 2013-01-28 14:18

Dessalines quite rightly queries what exactly Antiguan culture is - African? British? Caribbean/Regional? etc. It's a mixture of all of these and more of course because we are a multiracial and multinational country, however you look at it, and so we embrace it all and make it our own, nothing wrong with that. Look at Trinidad & Tobago for one - its rich culture etc comes from its rich mix of people etc, and this is celebrated and enjoyed in many ways (language, foods, carnival, music etc). We have the same here too, albeit on a smaller scale - we just need to appreciate it.
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JD

@ dadlison

#7 Jumbee Picknee » 2013-01-28 14:01

A pure cong-cong-sah!
A wan subben bout Grenadians, Hispanics, St
Lucians and of course Jamaicans, dey local language cum first.
Language is the cohesive mechanism.
Dey cyan chuppzzzzzzzzz until dey lips tun red lakka peggy mouth pepper nyam it up.
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Jumbee Picknee

@Jumbee Picknee

#6 dadlison » 2013-01-28 12:04

Why you getting thumbs down? You hit the nail on the head man. Rather than embrace our unique manner of speaking, we keep telling people it is for the poor and uneducated. What many don't seem to realise is how much of our own culture, history and identity is codified within dialect. The Queen's English tells us nothing about ourselves. It is a great tool for communicating with the outside world, but there is no reason to show it some great reverence within our own borders. I wish I could communcate in dialect with the same elequence as English but, dem tell me tap talk so, an now me cya member how fu speak dialec. chupz.
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dadlison

Media quotas anyone?

#5 Dessalines » 2013-01-28 10:34

I agree with Laudat in principle however the reality is that Antigua had never had an identifiable cultural identity to speak of. When the British gave us autonomy and then independence we never forged a national identity when we had the chance (like Singapore did) we just maintained status quo keeping our quasi British culture in place. Its no surprise then that in the early 80s American cable TV further eroded what little culture we had (we started locking our doors) then and this was compounded by unregulated mass immigration by immigrants from larger caricom countries who carpet bombed Antigua with their numbers and culture to the point where Antiguans and our culture are a minority.
Large countries like France and Britain have media quotas in place where a percentage of broadcasts has to be local artistes/programs. Conversely we promote other cultures (i.e Spanish programming) and use scarce tax dollars to do so instead of pushing a assimilation program where all residents are required to speak English and know our history. IMO Laudats call is a little to late and the enormity of the problem is way beyond the department of culture's pay grade.
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Dessalines

...den a wah mek?

#4 Jumbee Picknee » 2013-01-28 09:18

Den, a wa mek de education department tap pickee-neargah from tap talk de language which dey raise pan?
Translation...
Then, why did the Department of Education stop children from communicating in the language of their Nation?
Language is the key component for the sustaining of One's identity. Therefore, if.your own natural language is suppressed, thought of as meaningless, then, it should be no surprise, that the Culture is viewed in the same vein.

A so Jumbee Picknee say, me garne
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Jumbee Picknee

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#3 bitterbushbenjie » 2013-01-28 09:17

How moronic a statement!!!!!!! If your chosen front-man for all things cultural is a from another country and a vastly different cultural background, what else can you expect? As one great Antiguan was quoted as saying, "It is pellucidly clear."
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bitterbushbenjie

I am not impressed.

#2 Sure Bob! » 2013-01-28 07:55

While this may be so Mr. Laudat, your department is guilty of the same thing that you are saying. How many Antiguan accents are present in the department? Of all the plays and dance productions which are put on by "culture" how many reflect our Antiguan culture and celebrate our 'Antiguan-ness?' Mind you, outside of the choir dance and plays are the only thing culture seems to produce. What about the other Art-forms that should be represented under the broad umbrella of culture? We like to say things that make us sound good but many times we are actually very guilty of the same things we speak.
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Sure Bob!

RE: Antigua Culture under Threat - Laudat

#1 not again » 2013-01-28 05:42

Well said laudat.
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not again

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