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Saturday, October 21 2017 @ 05:25 PM AST

Minister Peters launches Best Village 50th Anniversary celebrations

The following is the address delivered by the Honourable Winston 'Gypsy' Peters, Minister of Community Development at the launch of the Best Village 50th Anniversary celebrations at Queen's Hall on Friday January 11, 2013 at Queen's Hall, St Ann's.

All protocols observed.

A very pleasant good morning, and thank you for joining us today!
It is truly a pleasure to welcome you to the Media Launch of the Prime Ministerís Best Village Trophy Competitionís 50th Anniversary Celebration.
I donít know if you know it, but the majority of people who have appeared on stage this morning are products of Best Village Ė including the person on stage now.

The Prime Ministerís Best Village Trophy Competition is an institution that speaks for itself. Fifty years of refining raw talent. Fifty years of discovering hidden talent. Fifty years of shaping the culture of Trinidad and Tobago.
The exciting task before us is not only maintaining this track record but improving the standard as we take this competition to its Centennial in 2063. I also want to pay homage to the Chaguanas Village Council, winners of the first Best Village title in 1963.
At this point I must pause to recognise the leadership of the Best Village Unit, all its officers and all the Community and Village groups who have made this programme what it is: a movement focused on cultural heritage, community development and national pride. I congratulate you and thank you all for your dedication.

So how does the Best Village Unit plan to move into the 21st century? We have worked with the staff of the Ministry of Community Development, community groups, consultants and the general public to chart a way forward.

We understand that Information Technology must be incorporated into the competition. Locally, we want to use I.T. to be better connected with District Staff and persons in communities. We also hope to utilise our Ministryís Website, You Tube and Facebook to reach a wider general, regional and international audience. Often people may think that heritage and culture cannot be synonymous with technology. But this synergy is imperative for Best Village to continue to make a real impact.

Another plan of action for the Prime Ministerís Best Village Trophy Competition is to ensure that all districts have appropriate venues that can be accessed by participants for rehearsal.
Over the years, Best Village Groups have moved from practising in outdoor spaces and homes of group members to indeed performing for Kings, Queens and other heads of government in distant lands. At the Ministry of Community Development, since May 24th 2010, we have opened or refurbished eighteen (18) community facilities to help in providing adequate rehearsal spaces.

Each of these has been equipped with a teak stage, changing rooms and shower facilities for performers. To ensure that they will be accessible to performing groups we have also appointed committees who will ensure proper scheduling and equitable use of these facilities.

In addition to these plans, to ensure the continued preservation and transmission of local heritage for the next 50 years and beyond, I want to at this time challenge my Ministry, particularly the Prime Ministerís Best Village Unit to develop a Best Village Folk Art Learning and Resource Centre.
This facility will be a place that Best Village can call its own to house its archives and the Folk Culture of Trinidad and Tobago. It will be a space to educate locals and foreigners alike about our traditions and heritage through audio visual material, literature, music, song, dance, folk culture and authentic costumes. This Centre will help to inspire persons to become actively involved in learning indigenous arts and transferring this knowledge to others in their communities.

We also plan to pursue other recommendations that include increasing the staff at the Best Village Unit, increasing national and international exposure for the competition and developing a monitoring and reporting system to track the operations of the programme. This year we will introduce a Community Heroes Award.

As I close, I take great pride in inviting you to join with the Ministry of Community Development for our Golden Jubilee. You will leave with a calendar of events for our 50th Anniversary Celebrations. These Celebrations will span the breadth of our country between January and November, and you are all invited to participate.
At these events you will see the new 50th Anniversary logo proudly displayed.

For 2013, we will replace the traditional Best Village Logo based on three interlocking cottages that represent the unifying of communities with the 50th Anniversary logo. The commemorative ď50Ē featured on the logo is proudly displayed in gold to represent the golden anniversary of this esteemed programme. The five (5) is made up of three people that highlight the people-centred focus of the Prime Ministerís Best Village Trophy Competition. We have also incorporated the original logo that includes our national colours. I am proud to unveil this logo today.

I want to thank you for being a part of this Golden Anniversary launch and I encourage you to return to the sense of values, unity and community cohesiveness. May God continue to bless each and every one of us and bless our beautiful nation. God bless you.

Caption: Minister Peters, along with Miss La Reine Rive 2012, Ms Malaika Ballantyne and some of the performers at the launch.

CREDITS: Photo courtesy the Ministry's website

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