Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart says there remains a concern at the nationally about the level of participation in literary arts in Barbados. He expressed the worry Friday as he addressed the launch of the Bim Literacy Festival And Book Fair at Ilaro Court.
Stuart said the concern was among all ages and needed to be addressed.
“. . . Especially in the critical area of reading, not always helped by the preoccupation with the gadgets that modern technology provides. The initiative to use this festival to nurture that skill, as well as the skill of writing in Barbados and across the region, will certainly slow the advance of any threats to the development of the literacy arts in Barbados,” the Prime Minister said.
Stuart added that he valued the emphasis placed by Bim Littfest on encouraging younger generations to develop a practice of reading.
“There is no better instrument for the development and training of young minds,” he said. “Indeed, I laud the many activities for children in the Bim Literary Festival And Book Fair.”
The Prime Minister also took the time to reaffirm his Government’s commitment to the development of literary arts in Barbados.
“Government has been unhesitating in its support to this sector through the Ministry of Culture, and particularly with the publication of Bim,” he stated.
Additionally, he pledged to lend his support at the regional level to ensure the rich literary tradition of the Caribbean lived on so the “spellbinding story” was told to the world.
Renowned American author Paule Marshall, author of works such as Brown Girl, Brownstones, received the Bim Littfest Lifetime Achievement Award.
Stuart said, in honouring her, the Government was also recognizing the work of the Barbadian Diaspora across the world. He said Barbados was immensely proud of Marshall and her “impressive achievements”.
He stressed it was high time Barbados started to recognize and appreciate good writers.
“In this 50th anniversary year of our Independence, it is important that we recognize writers who have contributed so much to our development over the years.”