with renewed vigor

December 28, 2006

my time off from work has brought some well needed clarity to my previously blurry picture of my life. while i haven’t gotten everything figured out (and i don’t think that’ll ever happen), i do feel much calmer about the future. my good friend sweettrini has joined the junction ranks and has offered to help out wherever she can. one of her first orders of business was to connect me with an artist friend of hers who is in trinidad fighting a very good fight with a.c.t.t. (artist coalition of trinidad & tobago). i learned recently that the gov’t of t&t has decided to go ahead with plans to build a national performing arts centre without consulting the very people who are supposed to use the building, artists. shame! the email below was circulated within the local artists community to expose the injustice and push for artist consultation before ground is broken. Note: the following communication, titled “Artists!!! A call for some presence and some feedback!” was first distributed on November 21, 2006.

On Friday 1st December 2006 construction is to begin on
the National Performing Arts Centre and Academy Building on
the Princes Building Ground. The facility is the very same
one that artists have lobbied for 45years. The major thing
is that artists have not been meaningfully consulted on
these architectural and conceptual plans. We hear that the
Chinese contractors are already in the country and rearing
to go. Are we?
•Kenny De Silva has resigned. Ainsworth Mohammed has
resigned. Emile Elias has said it is illegally tendered.
The sporting bodies and the City Council have made noise
about them not being consulted. All kinds of people are
taking stands on our issues except it seems us. It is time
for us to make our voices heard.
•The $700 Million Savannah Carnival Complex is also due to
start any day now and the Minister has blanked calls for
stakeholder consultation. Three times letters were
submitted signed by more than 12 stakeholder groups, 3 ex-
Directors of Culture, an ex-Permanent Secretary and 3
senior artists and more. 3 times press releases to that
effect were sent into the newspapers to multiple
journalists and editors and have been silenced.
•Guys I know it feels big and monolithic and as if there’s
nothing we can do about it. I however believe that if we
mobilize now we can leverage that ‘say so’ that we should
have been having on all matters that concern us.
The wheels of change have been set into motion and your
presence will
 be welcomed at the official media launch of
the Artist Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT!) on
Thursday 30th November, 2006 at 10am upstairs the National
Museum opposite Memorial Park, Upper Frederick Street.
ACTT, formerly Entertainment Coalition of Trinidad and
Tobago (EIC), is the organization responsible for
championing a wide range of artist issues since 1997. EIC
organized and led the three (3) major artist marches of
2000, 2001 and 2003. ACTT is an attempt to form the
umbrella organization representing all sects of the
national Arts/Entertainment Industry,
 collectively
numbering an estimated One Hundred Thousand (100,000)
persons. ACTT would comprise the leaders of and/or
appointed members from the stakeholder groups in Trinidad
and Tobago, and will boast a committed secretariat that
will coordinate its members towards the attainment of long
standing goals and the realization of dreams.
ACTT will place emphasis on Culture as a sustainable
resource and will encourage the government to diversify
the economy away from the energy sector by the submission
of viable options.
The cultural industry has the potential to provide more
employment with less government spending, investments
which may result in gainful employment for thousands of
citizens.
 Trinidad and Tobago loses an estimated Ten
Billion dollars in revenue annually from government’s
inaction regarding industry initiatives.
ACTT will also champion international recognition of our
artists as we strive for greater branding opportunities,
both locally and abroad.
As we embark on our journey, we invite to you attend and
take this first step with us. Should you require any
further information, please feel free to contact us.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Yours in Action
_____________________
RUBADIRI VICTOR 797-0949, FABIEN ALFONSO 682-8174
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