WCMF out, relief concert in
Yes, the title is correct; there will be no World Creole Music Festival this year due to the destruction that Tropical Storm Erika wrought on Dominica's infrastructure. However, some middle ground seemed to have been met in the form of a concert which would ensure that there is a "sewo".
Though I don't agree with the Prime Minister's simplistic view of the WCMF that he described as 'a man behind a woman with two Kubuli beers in his hand', I fully support the cancellation of the 2015 WCMF. I completely understand the PM's concerns (as all should be) about the image of 'partying' and 'merry-making' while hard-earned tax payers money from other countries is being provided to Dominica for its reconstruction.
However, just after telling the press that he (the PM) was leaning towards a cancellation, Tourism Minister Robert Tonge announced that a relief concert is being planned instead. In support of the concert, former minister Atherton Martin, opposition leader Lennox Linton and Roseau MP Joseph Isaac expressed their views on the subject.
In fact Mr. Martin's ideas were pretty grandiose, in my view, because we have just about six weeks for planning; but one could understand the enthusiasm and urgency for wanting to capitalize on an opportunity to internationalize Dominica and by extension its tourism product. Mr. Linton was correct also when he said the best minds must be brought on board and Mr. Gordon Henderson is about the best that we have to plan such an event. Still it would be wishful thinking if Mr. Henderson would be consulted; thus the need more healing and acceptance in this country.
In my humble view a relief concert is an attempt to give to the world an impression that "we not partying with your aid money, you know; we just trying to raise some funds ourselves by having this concert". How do we do this? We have removed the word 'festival' and cunningly substituted 'relief'; we have left the three nights and removed 'pulsating'. Surely this would not be more palatable and not give the impression of a solemn occasion where no one would be 'behind any woman with two Kubuli in their hands.'
My view is that they may not have two Kubuli but certainly there will be many with at least one beer in their hand at this three-night "relief" event. The relief here, I think, is more applicable to the relief of stakeholders of the tourism industry, particularly hoteliers who benefit most from the 80-100% occupancy during the WCMF.
The questions I pose are: why did it take a storm or a disaster to come up with so many innovative ways to promote and market Dominica? Why does 'a relief concert' have to be held for three nights? Where are the gospel and praise and thanksgiving elements in the concert?
Maybe it is too early and there is time to organize the concert, but I am reminded that one cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time; hence, it would seem to me that this "relief" event is just an excuse for another "sewo" in spite of the dire situation that the country has found itself in. If every civil servant and working Dominican pays $20 into a fund from their salary we will earn much more relief funds than any concert. But no, it's not really the money or relief; we need the sewo!
So Government has made the decision; so, therefore one would think here is an opportunity to at least dedicate one of the three nights to only Gospel music and praise at the relief concert. I am not waiting, but it would be interesting to hear the Bishop's views as well as the views of radio evangelist Peter R. Augustine. So no, "I am not touching this dial". I think I already know what Pastor Rodney's and Jack's views would be on this, so I'll try to "keep it real".
Relief for many is money and material things, but what about relief from the things that keeps us down as a country such as hate, greed, enmity, slander. In the entire 19 years of the WCMF the Creator has allowed for just one year for a country to reflect, to pay Him homage and we could not sacrifice it. NOT ONE!