(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News) Minister for Culture, Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley
While the Festival of the Arts that was held during the weekend proves that the Territory has talent,and a heritage that should always be celebrated, the Minister for Culture, Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley disclosed that there is a real battle to preserve the Virgin Islands’ identity.
In being frank about the fear of the loss of the Territory's culture that has gripped Virgin Islanders for decades, the Minister described the cultural preservation matter as “a challenge.”
Hon. Wheatley while lauding the various events that comprised the Festival of the Arts announced that maintaining and promoting the BVI culture will remain on the Territorial agenda during his tenure.
“Culture is a real focus of this government,” he said.
He noted the need to keep the BVI culture at the forefront the Minister said, “I think many persons in the past have recognized through no fault of no individual, no one person; persons have recognize that we’re having some challenges preserving our culture."
He added, "You know, because of all of the different factors – the tiniest of the BVI population, all of the things that’s happening in technology; and of course culture is something that’s every changing so you’ll always have some change.”
Hon. Wheatley said that there are daily factors and occurrences that can erode the culture of the Territory if care and an attempt is not made to safeguard and promote the BVI way of life.
“We want persons to recognize that there is a strong rich history and heritage in the Virgin Islands and we want persons to be able to display that and celebrate that,” he shared.
While emphasizing that preservation is very necessary at this time, the Minister stated: “As we go deeper into this millennium we know that there is a lot of competing factors. We have the media – lots of American culture is displayed to us, and we know that the Virgin Islands has over 139 different countries represented in the Virgin Islands. Persons who come from all over the world and of course they have their own unique culture.”
“There is need to bring some attention and focus to Virgin Islands culture and to preserve it for future generations and to invite others from other countries and our visitors to be able to participate in it learn about it. I think most persons have recognized the challenge of preserving the culture and it behooves us to build to institutions that would help to preserve – like museums,” the Minister added.