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