NICH’s roadmap to national cultural policy
If you wonder what life holds for beauty queens after pageants, this next story will shed a minor light. Former Queen of the Bay 1998 Shari Williams is the Communications Officer for the National Institute of Culture and History. NICH is working toward creating a National Cultural Policy and is seeking opinions and ideas from artists, cultural activists and anyone who would like to give their input on ways to develop the country while maintaining important values. The seventh round of consultations will be held at five o’clock on Wednesday evening at the House of Culture in Belize City. Williams says that so far the discussions have been lively and interactive.
Shari Williams, Communications Officer, NICH
“NICH has decided that we’re going to assist any Belizean who wish to prosper through culture, that there be no road blocks for the people to prosper through culture in Belize. And one way to do this is to come up with a national culture policy. We’ve been having consultations countrywide; thus far we’ve had consultations in Orange Walk, Corozal, San Ignacio, Belmopan and recently in Dangriga and PG. Tomorrow at the House of Culture, we’re having the Belize City consultations. The entire idea behind this is to find a link between culture and development in Belize to come up with a policy framework of how we can move forward as a nation with culture.”
“Okay, so this is opened to whom?”
“Well, definitely we’re inviting the major stakeholders that work in the industry; craft makers, artists, people who develop and want to promote their particular ethnicities, tourism stakeholders, any who feel as if though they have a genuine idea of how we can promote culture in Belize, of how we can promote culture as a means of development in our country. So we’re inviting anybody who wants to have an input in the national cultural policy plan for the country.”
“What are some of the things that are discussed at these consultations?”
“Well, we’ve been finding that from district to district the focus changes. For example, the people in Corozal they focused on ethnicities and values while those down south look at ways of promoting culture through tourism. So we find that district to district the focus changes, but definitely some of the topics to be discussed are what are some of our values, how we can move the country forward while keeping these values intact.”
“Do we know how soon—I know you’re still in the consultation stage—but how soon this framework is expected to be completed?”
“Well, the president has given a—she’s been saying March of next year. By March of next year, we should have a document in place. Right now we have a working document if people want to see the general idea of the gist of where we’re taking this, they can log on to our website at www.nichbelize.org or you can pick up a copy of the working document here at the House of Culture.”
The next municipal consultations on the National Cultural Police will be held in Placencia and San Pedro. Those will be followed by direct consultations with cultural groups.