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Not just a fête

marciadottin, [email protected]

Not just a fête

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Barbadians have been told to look at the Crop-Over Festival with new eyes, and not just as an opportunity to fête.At the Barbados National Bank-sponsored Opening Gala at Queen’s Park yesterday Minister of Community Development and Culture Steve Blackett told guests that the festival had potential economic returns. Statistics showed that apart from Christmas, the island’s most robust activity occurred during Crop-Over, generating more than $80 million every year.“Don’t see today’s opening gala as simply another occasion to fête,” the minister said,  “let this opening gala serve to broaden our education efforts to bring back this re-enactment . . . one of coming together to celebrate the end of a period of excruciatingly hard work,” he stated.Blackett announced that the Queen’s Park Steel Shed would be re-opened in November in time for Independence, while Queen’s Park House where the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre is located, would be reopened by March next year.Blackett said although there were some negative aspects of our culture, as an educated people, Barbadians should be discerning enough to know which things were constructive and positive and which were not.The minister of culture said he hoped for a Crop-Over that would be free of controversy, safe and free of unfortunate incidents.This year’s King and Queen titles went to Grantley Hurley and Judy Cumberbatch who were also last year’s champion cane cutters.The two were presented with prizes of $1 500 and tickets for a trip on LIAT from the National Cultural Foundation, plus $4 000 each from main sponsors BNB amongst numerous other prizes.BNB representative Sonia Hall-Hunte noted this was the 11th year that the bank was involved in the festival and promised its support for years to come.She welcomed back the street parade which she said was noticeably missing last year.Speaking on the theme: All Things Bajan, Hall-Hunte urged Barbadians to continue serving up the national dish of Cou-Cou and flying fish so that it would not lose its popularity. (CT)