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Minister wants more community groups in parish activities


Donna Sealy

Minister wants more community groups in parish activities
Part of the entertainment at the the Spirit of the Nation Show. (Picture by Nigel Browne)

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If Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment Charles Griffith gets his way, more community groups will be involved in the activities put on by the parish independence committees.

Faced with dwindling attendance at the Spirit of the Nation Show held this year on November 19 at the Wildey Gymnasium, and arguably a lack of participation from people in the various activities staged by the 11 committees, he told The Nation a post-mortem will be undertaken before any concrete decisions are made.

Griffith, who is in his first year as Minister responsible for the departments and agencies in his portfolio, said the standard of this year’s edition “matched what we were looking for”.

“I want to say a big thank you to Jessica Parris and her small staff that were responsible for not only the Spirit of the Nation Show but the [Sagicor] Lighting Ceremony that came prior to that. I want to salute them for an excellent job in staging the Spirit of the Nation Show.

“In terms of the attendance, I attribute that to maybe not enough PR (public relations) leading up the show. We will do a post-mortem of the show to see if there are areas that could be strengthened but one of the things that I would like to do is probably involve more community groups in the process as well.

“So, in addition to having the standalone parish independence committees, I’m hoping now to get community groups from within the respective parishes be actively involved in the process going forward and act as a feeder or come on board and support the PIC within the parish that you’re functioning as a community group,” he said.

Minister wants more community groups in parish activities
The audience got involved in what was going on stageside. (Picture by Nigel Browne)

St Lucy ambassadors Chloe Collymore and Paul Cato won the coveted Most Outstanding Parish Ambassadors and the public speaking prize. Their attendant Tony Pompey, who was part of the winning duo in 2010, won Attendant of the Year.

The Spirit of the Nation show culminates a year-long programme that involves 11 parish independence committees, 22 parish ambassadors and attendants and showcases the talent of those representing their parish. This year, there were only four attendants.

In the Most Outstanding Parish Ambassadors category, St Michael’s Samantha Greaves and Tyrell Burnett were second, St Andrew’s Peta Watson and Tremaine Trotman placed third and St Philip’s ambassadors, Simone Williams and Derek Anderson were fourth overall.

St Lucy won most of the prizes including Parish Project of the Year for their project themed Entrepreneurship: A Pathway to Growing A Stronger We. They also copped the Productivity Award, the Entrepreneurship Award and their committee member Shemiel Scantlebury was third in the inaugural Committee member of the Year prize.

Damien Bishop, who represented St Lucy in the talent contest, performed a hilarious and relatable dramatic piece titled The Old Pray to place second.

Minister wants more community groups in parish activities
Part of the entertainment at the the Spirit of the Nation Show. (Picture by Nigel Browne)

Anderson Rollock, chairperson of St Lucy’s committee who is a former ambassador and attendant, praised the programme. He thanked the entire team for their efforts as well as project coordinator Janice Springer and Olivia Sobers who “really helped us execute an excellent project”.

He also noted they had “no issues” with Collymore, Cato, and Pompey.

“They listened to what we said, they took our guidance, all advice and once you do what you have to and put in the work the results will come. We just do this to keep our parish proud and to maintain this excellent programme we have in Barbados to keep it going because there’s nothing else like this in the world, in the Caribbean, anywhere else.

“What people see [at the Spirit of the Nation Show] is the icing on the cake but there’s a lot of work that goes in for a full year,” he said.

St Michael’s Marsha Greenidge and Janine White from St Peter were second and third in the Attendant of the Year category. In the Parish Project category, the St Michael was second and St George was third.

Nicole Collymore won the inaugural Committee member of the Year prize and Christ Church committee member Mechelle Shepherd was second and in the designer category Lester Welch won the Best Formal Wear prize worn by the St Andrew ambassadors and Neil Stanley won Best Costume which were worn by Greaves and Burnett.

St Thomas’ Shem White won the best parish talent and the Most Impactful Act prizes. Third was spoken word performer LaShawna Griffith, who represented Christ Church who also won the Most Original Act for her thought-provoking entry titled the Belch of Racism has a Pungent Odour. (GBM)