Photo Credit: Provided
A waiver between the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) that grants BVI bands permission to enter the USVI to perform at the 2017 VI Carnival Village, is now official. This would now allow BVI bands to be included in the village line up and provide quality entertainment for village attendees.
Lieutenant Governor of the USVI, Osbert E. Potter on February 8 met with representatives of the Virgin Islands carnival committee, the U.S. Customs & Border Protection and members from the BVI musical industry to discuss and finalize the details of the cultural exchange agreement.
As it relates to the guidelines of the agreement, BVI Platinum News understands that the cultural exchange invitation to local bands can only be extended by the USVI carnival committee or USVI government to the BVI Ministry of Education and Culture, and the USVI would indicate which bands they want.
Further guidelines stipulate that the local Ministry of Culture would contact the bands, collect all documents of persons travelling with bands and forward to the USVI carnival committee or government. Following that, approval of the bands will be sent back to the local Ministry.
The agreement also instructs that absolutely no last minute additions will be allowed.
The local Ministry of Culture will also be responsible for collecting the payments for the bands.
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
On the matter, Lieutenant Governor Potter said, "We are excited about this agreement and look forward to inclusion of the BVI bands at our Carnival Village. We want to ensure that long term measures are put in place so that we will continue to welcome the BVI bands at our Carnival Village, as part of our cultural exchange agreement."
Speaking to BVI Platinum News, Hon. Myron Walwyn, Minister of Education and Culture said, “I thank very much the government of the USVI, particularly Lieutenant Governor Potter, for working along with us to make this happen.”
He added, “This is a major step in the promotion of our local music industry and I encourage our local music entertainers to take advantage of this opportunity, while respecting the established protocols for the waiver programme.”
The waiver was first agreed upon September 8, 2016 during a meeting of the Inter Virgin Islands Council (IVIC).
The issue of bands not being able to play in the USVI first arose in 2013 when members of local bands expressed their concerns to Minister Walwyn.