Governor General says more Bahamians should appreciate National Arts Festival

NASSAU, Bahamas – Governor General of The Bahamas His Excellency the Hon. Arthur Hanna said Monday that more Bahamians should embrace the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival and the importance of the Arts in the development of a people.

“The E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival is ours and the time has come whereby more Bahamians should appreciate the importance of the festival and participate to the fullest extent,” Governor-General Hanna said.

The Governor General was speaking at the Festival’s 48th Awards Presentation held at the Police Conference Centre, East Street. Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Carl Bethel, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry Mrs. Elma Garraway and Director of Culture Dr. Nicolette Bethel also took part in the event.

Governor-General Hanna said that the Arts are a major ingredient in addressing the “downward societal spiral” that appears to be happening to today’s society.

“The Arts are to the education of a whole person,” he said. “The Arts are character-building tools and help to install discipline; the Arts help persons by enhancing their self esteem.”

The Governor General added that the Arts uplift the standard of life of the individual and entire communities, augment the level of existence, foster careers and industries and attract business and industries.

“Too often we in the Third World underestimate the power and relevance of the Arts, which should not be trivialized,” he said. “Often, we do not appreciate what we have in our own country and in some cases, we are even afraid to share our arts with others.

“Yet, we treasure the arts or artistic expression of persons in other countries.”

He added that in 2009, the Festival will celebrate its golden 50th anniversary and it can already stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any national festival in the world.

“It is a festival whose standards are surpassed by no other nation in the world,” the Governor General said.

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