Barbados’ Cultural Ambassadors (from left) Anthony ‘Mighty Gabby’ Carter, ‘Soca queen’ Alison Hinds and Stedson ‘RPB’ Wiltshire. (Picture by Xtra Vision Photography.)
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Barbados’ newest cultural ambassadors were celebrated in grand style Sunday night.
Alison Hinds-Walcott, Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire and Anthony Mighty Gabby Carter received their instruments of office and official designations as cultural ambassadors in a ceremony fit for royalty at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
The honorees were entertained by a number of artistes, performing many musical hits from the “Soca Queen” Alison, the “King of Ragga Ragga” RPB and the incomparable cultural maestro Gabby.
In delivering the feature address, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart congratulated the new ambassadors on their appointments and thanked them for doing their best to promote Barbados.
“They have been leveraging the cultural assets and telling the story of Barbados for many years to local, regional and international audiences. They have promoted our culture using the calypso art form, and as a result of their extensive travels, have fostered inter-cultural dialogue. In other words, without all of the steps being taken for their confirmation as cultural ambassadors for Barbados, in effect, they have been performing that role and doing so without distinction,” he said.
The Prime Minister told the modest crowd he was certain the three would continue to make the country proud.
“We can all be proud of these great citizens of Barbados. Each one of them has brought his or her individual capacity and capability to bear on the cultural development of this island. They have brought us goodwill in the past and I know that they will bring us goodwill to this nation in the future. Their achievements are our achievements and together they will continue to take Barbados to ever greater heights,” he added.
Stuart stressed that their commitment and dedication, strengths, consistency, versatility and focus were to be emulated by young people, especially those in the cultural field.
“They are also characteristics from which we as a nation can continue to draw on.”
Stuart added that his Government pledged to continue to create the kind of environment that would allow the cultural industries to develop in Barbados.
“We are seeking, through the Cultural Industries Development Authority, to strengthen the Cultural Industries Development Act, and through programmes and various activities, to better equip our cultural practitioners to make livelihoods for themselves. We are seeking to have more Alisons, Red Plastic Bags and Mighty Gabbys, who in turn can enlarge the cast of cultural ambassadors for Barbados.”
The new ambassadors were all emotional while watching the various performances of their music. They expressed their gratitude and humility when accepting the tokens from Stuart.
Hinds said: “This means a lot to me, to be recognised for doing what I love, for representing this tiny but beautiful but strong island however I can and wherever.”
During her very emotional tribute, Hinds thanked her family, management team and all who assisted in getting her to where she was. She specially acknowledged her “brothers” from the band Square One for being instrumental in her success.
“Without me being in that band and doing what we did, you would not see me here standing,” she said while promising to represent as cultural ambassador as best she could.
The Mighty Gabby, who was originally named as a cultural ambassador back in 2004, said it was definitely sweeter the second time around.
“I feel so proud this evening I don’t even have words to say. This is really fantastic. The band and the singers were excellent,” he said. (DB)