Sunday, 21 September 2014


Louis-E-A-Lewis SAVIOUR
In a surprise move, this week, SLTB is getting set to announce a major multi-million dollar investment in theater and the arts.
In an exclusive interview, DIS FLOGG's favorite frenemy, Louis Lewis, director of the St Lucia Tourist Board, announced a major turnaround and refocus in St Lucia's marketing.
"I don't know," said Lewis to DIS FLOGG, brushing his non-existent blonde tresses out of his wannabe blue eyes. "I just woke up one morning tired of wasting people's money on trade shows and first class tickets and per diems and shit. I thought to myself, 'Why should we continue down this current course with tourism that lets Russian mafia money buy both political parties? Why should we force people to sell their land in the World Heritage Site so that criminals they can set up their marinas and hotels, fence our people out and then try to buy the beaches that the law clearly says we cannot sell?"
Of course, Louis Lewis has to much vested interested in the self-loathing that causes Caribbean people to try to become something they are not in order to attract the worst kind of foreign investors.
I was just trying to get some lulz and kix into this story before the bullets start to fly.
Question: What country in the right mind would have an internationally adored writer/artist at their disposal and not give him at least a cool million every twelve months so he can put on local productions and do local training?
What kind of country fails to capitalize on the international renown and expertise of their greatest living son?
The correct answer is China. You thought I was talking about St Lucia, didn't you? Ha! Why is that? Whose plate did that fall in? Who did the cap fit?
While you shoot a myriad of government agencies and ministers past and present for this failure, I'm havig an idea.
Pause. Reload.
It's good to spend money on Shakespeare.
For two years in a row, The Globe, Shakespeare's old theater conpany, has visited St Lucia, blessing the island with performances that we might otherwise only enjoy in the sterile, streaming world of YouTube.
It's probably the best investment the St Lucia Tourist Board ever made - even though, frankly, it wasn't their idea and they failed to take it seriously last year.
Certainly better than the investments Tourist Board makes in first class travel and accomodation to international trade shows that they never show up early for because of they're still en bas dlo.
But think about this:
With more than forty million a year to blow away, a Nobel Laureate at their disposal and several other renowned directors ready for service.....TOURIST BOARD HAS YET TO INVEST A CENT IN ST LUCIAN THEATER.
Now tell me how it is possible that they somehow neglected to kill a whole flock of birds with one stone, by showing Derek the money? A million a year would pay Derek Walcott handsomely, keep him on island for longer periods, attract some truly excellent high end visitors to St Lucia and expose and train young St Lucians to the world's most excellent theater.
With a million a year, Walcott could probably produce plays by other writers and directors.
His name in the production credits alone could bring international acclaim to excellent directors like Drenia Frederick, who are only just beginning the struggle to make their brand names escape the local gravity and free itself up on the international stage, where Lucians would have no choice by to respect and revere them.
Now, I know what they're saying over there in the cesspits of corruption: "Derek is an old man. He's on his last legs. Puting money on him is liking investing in vinyl records."
That's almost true. The old poet has worked himself to the edge. Even though some of us hope and pray, we read his work and know that he can already see the day. But Derek is a hard-ass and he will keep working until the day the angels wrestle him to the ground. So we probably still have a few million to invest over the next few years. Imagine how valuable to video productions and rehearsal footage of those last productions will be to future generations.
Of course, as we just said, he can see the end.
Lucky for us, Derek Walcott is not an isolated incident in the history and culture of St Lucia.
He is merely the apex of a tradition of excellence in theatre and playwriting. It's already clear to everyone who is paying attention who Derek's natural successor is.
THE NEW DEREK WALCOTT (Except With Better Hair)
His name is Kendel Hippolyte.
He was either the youngest of the Arts Guild generation of artists or the oldest of the next generation that gave birth to popular theater, street theater, etc. He is the man of the cusp of generations. He is worshipped as a theater god, an immortal genius in every Caribbean island and diasporan community except St Lucia itself. When CDF sends his productions to CARIFESTA, Trinidadians and Jamaicans come to worship at the feet of St Lucian actors in the hopes that the second hand scent of 'Straw', as he was known, because the was the smallest and shortest of a family of thespians, including Alvin Hippolyte, will rub off on them.
And he is an even better director than Walcott.
Little Straw is not so short anymore. In fact, he is the single tallest tree of the generations of thespians who followed the Walcott brothers and the Arts Guild generation.
He is also the greatest literature teacher and theater trainer, perhaps in the entire Independence era. While this sounds like a subjective statement to some, to those who know theatre, it is an unequivocal fact. He has trained more of the current generation of professional theatricians than anyone. He deliberately set out to create a new generation of St Lucian actors, writers and directors in the 1980s. By the year 2000, he had totally achieved it. How do I know that?
I'm one of them.
As a child, I was exposed to him in the theater by my mother, who was something of an actress herself. As a young adult, I was in several plays before I crossed paths with him. But I was never a real actor before he laid his holy hands on me and slapped the fakery and foolishness from my ego so that I could never again return to being one of those people who wants the glory more than they want to do the work.
The result was that later on, when I worked with one of my least favorite Lucian directors and was very unhappy with the production we produced, Derek Walcott looked on me and still saw a real actor, not just another wannabe, and recruited me to galavant across the Mediterranean with him and a mixed cast of Lucians, Trinis, Italian and Spanish actors.
With a million dollar a year investment in theater, Tourist Board would educate St Lucians, give the youth some hope other that 680 in a plastic bottle, bring international renown and train and evelate dozens, maybe hundreds of talented Lucians over a short period.
With a million dollar investment in theater and perhaps sports events like Blackheart Football, Tourist Board could rain on the spiritual drought that drags many young people into the BET lifestyle that is killing Black America. Young people hardly have decent recreation and entertainment, which explains the high rate of alcohol and drug abuse among the youth. If creative arts are the spiritual energy of a nation, then it's no wonder that most St Lucian youth recognize that their country is giving them malnutrition of the mind and soul.
It's too bad. The next generation of Dereks and Kendals are already here. Like their forebears, they will probably have to run away to make their names and voices heard.
As for me, Negmarron is tired of running.
I'm going to have to convince them of their responsibility to invest some of those marketing multi-millions in the future of St Lucia.
Or I'm going to have to fight them.
Either way, something's going to have to give.


  1. Dear Jason,

    Please permit me to add my two cents to this discussion. I have no problem with the principle behind this initiative. The Arts are means of expression and viable revenue returns. I have no problem with WHAT is being done. The real matters at hand are WHO is doing it, and HOW they choose to do it.

    Beneath its glossy veneer, the SLTB, over countless decades has maintained a penchant for getting deeply involved with projects that are never financially viable. You would think that after 25 years, the Jazz festival should turn a profit. And don't give me that crap about derived benefits! If the hotels, etc. do so well and benefit so much then they ought to chip in and help foot the bill.

    I guess in some ways the Jazz festival was beneficial - to BET's Paxton Baker; who after so many Jazz Festivals laughed all the way to the bank, while Lucian taxpayers remained saddled with increasing debt.

    St. Lucians are finally waking up after a heavily induced slumber to the abject BS, incompetence, and downright thievery they have been experiencing all along. We never really had a genuine jazz festival. It was more like an R&B Festival, with muzak and elevator music that we were told, thanks to our ignorance, that this was jazz.

    And now the SLTB wants to conduct intellectual tourism. And where are the droves of academics and literature aficionados going to come from with bulging pockets to whisk St. Lucia out of its dismal economic malaise? Where is the venue? In the Mindoo Phillip Park? In the orange and white tent? The so-called Cultural Centre?

    Get real.

    I recall in 1998, one of the brilliant ideas of then SLTB Director Hilarious Modeste who stated on a DBS programme that immigration Officers should cast off their police uniforms and put on Hawaiian Shirts during the Jazz Festival season. This is the kind of dazzling BS that is typical of the SLTB!

    When I lived in St. Lucia, I told everyone that intellectual property was the way to go. Develop publishing, film, music and photography. Develop it in-house. Develop it in St. Lucia. No one listened. Has anyone ever read CLR James' "The Artist in the Caribbean" (1959). I wonder if Kenny ever did. And even if he did that, did he take heed to the utterances of James?

    Although St. Lucia has served as the inspiration for our literary greats, the profits from the work go elsewhere: the UK, USA, etc.

    Literacy Tourism sounds great; but it seems like too little too late. Will it make a big dent in St. Lucia's debt that now consumes over 70% of its GDP? Hell no. For too long the powers-that-be of the SLTB have cavorted around with an aloof an arrogant attitude because they felt that Tourism was the economic saving grace after the fall of bananas in the early 1990s. Again, blissful ignorance and a deeply ingrained dependency syndrome fueled our procrastination. The WTO rules were inevitable and St. Lucians did nothing to diversify the economy.

    I do not have a crystal ball or fragile crystal balls for that matter, but the best way to predict the future is to analyse the past. the SLTB does not enjoy a past that I am proud of. Positive revenue streams seem to be an alien entity to those in charge of handling our Tourism industry.

    I don't expect much from the "Cooyon" Tourist Board who traipse around our hotels behaving as if they are entitled to free drinks and entertainment. But then gain, you, the SLTB, now have a golden opportunity to prove me wrong. I wait to be pleasantly surprised. David Cave

    1. Dread....I'm just kixxing off on them.

      They would NEVER do something like invest in the arts.

      Not enough bobol....

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