Newly appointed chairman of the FLOW Oistins Festival, Toni Thorne is calling for more youth participation in national initiatives.
Thorne, who is responsible for leading the rebranded festival, formerly known as the Oistins Fish Festival, has introduced new and refreshing events and marketing strategies such as the FLOW mobile cinema and the reality television show Oistins Reimagined.
The new Oistins Festival Committee which includes stalwarts such as Herbie Yearwood, is also filled with energetic young people, with the youngest being 18.
“It is really important for us to have youth involved. It cannot just be something that we say and treat youth as tokens and have one person at the table. If you really want young persons to be involved, give them the opportunity to lead, give them the opportunity to contribute in a real, an authentic, genuine way,” said Thorne during her feature address at the official launch of 42nd Oistins Festival.
She also revealed that the changed name sought to be all inclusive to all groups such as fishing communities in the north and west of the island and stakeholders in meats and agricultural products.
“Oistins has to be a festival that includes fish but is more than just fish,” Thorne reasoned.
The launch was attended by patron and founder of the Oistins Festival, Lady Stella St John, Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King, Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde, Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs Marsha Caddle, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands and parliamentary representation for Christ Church South Ralph Thorne.
King lauded the creation of new activities and concepts that paid tribute to the cultural heritage of the national festival.
“We celebrate these cultural practices and the important figures that contribute to our communities, such as Berinda Cox. Why? So that we do not forget our heritage and allow future generations to experience the pride which comes with the positive promotion of what is theirs,” King said.
The Minister announced that this year the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports have embarked upon a project to create a national registry of historic places which will allow Barbados to have a say on the historical significance of the location. The information from the registry would be available on an online-based interactive database named Arches.
“This government not only recognises the role of cultural heritage in the building of the national identity but also its importance as an economic driver. Certainly, Oistins Fish Market and Bay Garden are wonderful examples of the expanding economic potential of heritage. In a maturing sector such as the creative economy and culture, the use of data is critical to effective decision making. This is the direction we as a nation need to go,” the Minister of Culture emphasized. (KK)