Girls in cultural costume on the occasion of the launch of Culturama 45 in 2019 (Photo source: facebook.com/NevisCulturamaFestival)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 31st July 2020) – Although the annual Culturama festivity on Nevis-promoted for 23rd July to 4th August-has been cancelled due to COVID-19, there are plans in place to have some festive activities but street jamming is not one of them as rumours claimed.

Premier Mark Brantley at his monthly press conference held on Thursday 30th July 2020, extended an invitation to residents of St.Kitts to visit Nevis and join the festivities as well as to partake in some touristic type of outings during their trip.

“This weekend of course is what we also call the emancipation weekend. We are aware that traditionally, Culturama now would be climaxing this weekend. Of course due to COVID-19, we are unable to have our huge Culurama activities…what we have decided to do of course, we have launched a campaign where we’re inviting our brothers and sisters from St.Kitts to come over and spend the weekend in Nevis. Some calling it a staycation; whatever you wish, we are saying to them that we know they usually come over for the jamming and the J’ouvert and all of that but that is not going to happen and let me just reiterate, there is no jamming or J’ouvert this weekend. That might disappoint many but that is the reality. We cannot afford that type of behavior during this particular time.”

Brantley continued: “However, what we have sort to do is to put on some events. We have sort the cooperation from of the police to organize in Charlestown a sort of a mini food fair…where we hope that we can have booths spaced at 10 or more feet apart going along Charlestown and that persons will be able to go and buy fruits, vegetables, buy food, buy drink and we hope that we’re going to have poets…and perhaps a string band will be there; a bit of folklore but we’re not having the bands and DJs and the jamming and so we’re putting that together just so that people have someplace to go and that our vendors can capitalize and make a dollar or two.”

He pointed out that his administration is aware that some hotels are offering specials and that Sunshine’s is also having what is being referred to as a Wine, Food and Carib Festival.

According to the Nevis Premier, many Kittitians have told him that they have never visited Nevis and further urged them to visit with the mindset of learning about the island.

“All across the island, I assume will be having get-togethers, family reunions and the like and so we welcome our brothers and sisters. We look forward to seeing them, and I trust and hope that I can meet as many people from St.Kitts as possible. Many Kittitians don’t know Nevis. In fact as I go over, some of them tell me that they’ve never been to Nevis. You may find that hard to believe but some of them say they’ve never been to Nevis. Well, I hope they can hear me. I’m inviting them personally to come and see their sister island this weekend.”

He encouraged visitors to get on an ATV tour, horseback riding, Funky Monkey tours and hike the rainforest and mountains.

“Do something but learn about your sister island. This is your country as well and we invite our brothers and sisters to come over and be a part of that. So the Emancipation weekend, Culturama is cancelled but we want to have some activity such as the food fair as I’ve said so that persons can purchase food and purchase fruits and vegetables as we push for more in terms of our own food security. We have preponderance now of crops, fruits especially, watermelon, mangoes, ginnips, avocado that all are becoming available and so we ask our people to go out and take advantage of that. So we look forward then to a good weekend in that regard.”

On the topic of COVID-19, Brantley praised the efforts of the national task force for doing “excellent work”.

He, then zoomed in on the work of the team on Nevis headed by Dr. Judy Nisbett saying “through their efforts, Nevis had not had a case of COVID-19 since the 7th of April” whilst highlighting that there had been a total of four cases with no new case to date.

“That means that we can truly say that we’ve done better than virtually everyone else in the region.”

Brantley went on to encourage individuals to continue to follow safety guidelines.

“However, I hasten to say that we expect that we will get more cases…so while we like the tag of being COVID free and Nevis is certainly a healthy place to be, I believe the nature of it being what it is , we must brace ourselves for the possibility and the narrative that must come from leadership has to be that we anticipate that other cases may come , and so we have not relented in terms of our preparations for any new cases and we continue to beef up in terms of our supplies, in terms of our equipment and we would want to thank the federal government for its partnership, we would want to thank friendly governments such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) for their partnership which has helped to put us in a state of readiness and so let us continue therefore to be vigilant as we continue to adhere to the necessary protocols.