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Mar 27, 1998

G. Michael Reid with more on Children’s Festival of Arts

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In last week’s edition of the Last Word, G. Michael Reid discussed some critical observations in the annual Children’s Festival of Arts. While presenting his views on the performance of students from some Belize City primary schools, it seems that the commentator left a bitter taste in some people’s mouth. So this week, he revisits the subject, in hopes of smoothing out some ruffled feathers.

“While I can usually resist the urge to return to a story once narrated the saga of Grace Primary and the Children’s Festival of Arts, begs a bit more analysis. First off, my apologies to anyone at Holy Redeemer who might have been offended by last week’s last word. Seems a few people misinterpreted my comments to mean that Holy Redeemer was now at the bottom of the heap as far as primary schools go. This is far from true, as was made evident by a second place finish in the recent spelling bee contest. Holy Redeemer is still doing fine academically, and to some and of late that seems to be all that’s important. Reliable studies have proven however, that while the three R’s are indeed fundamental, the arts and sports play a very significant role in the development of children. In that area Holy Redeemer has been not only stagnant, but also regressive. Holy Redeemer used to have a grand marching band, was respectable in sports and boasted a handsome array of scouts and guides.

As for the school grounds, there has been no move to find a more suitable playground and children are still being crossed and tossed into an open lot at the corner of two very busy streets. There’s the unsanitary, unsightly and unsafe canal that still sits uncovered, awaiting misfortune, and while much money is being spent on the commercial venture at bridge foot, improvements to the school have stalled. Can we not invest some stocks into the safety of our children? And speaking of the safety of the children, how about those busses that keep narrowly missing the children from Grace Primary? Mara Avenue is just too narrow and busy to be used as a bus terminal and to set one up in front of the school is asinine. Who makes these decisions anyway, and who pays for them?

Anyway, as for my request to differ from Grace Primary’s distressful decision to forego the upcoming Children’s Festival of Arts that stands as tendered. We set a bad precedent when we allow criticism and obstacles to dissuade us from our duties and our goals. It brings to mind C-Jam’s decision to withdraw from last year’s carnival contest and the opposition’s decision to forgo their obligation at recent house sittings. ‘Tis far nobler to invoke the dauntless spirit of resolution.

As for the festival itself, the organizers assure us that the show will go on as usual. Primary schools from all over Belize district will participate and while Grace Primary would have been a welcome addition, no one monkey should stop no show. Another school that has been making waves on the horizon of late is Belize Elementary. I spoke to Vice-principal William Neal and he assured me that B.E.S. would be there and be there in a big way. Hopefully the other schools will be up to his challenge. An interesting observation over the past few years has been the fact that while parents from Grace Primary and Belize Elementary have been coming out in droves to support their children, parents from other schools deserve no medals for attendance. In fact, in the past after almost every show, the Arts Council is left with trying to get children home whose parents just drop them off and then seem to forget them. One wonders if we really understand

what a priceless and imperative commodity children really are.

With the Last Word, G. Michael Reid.”

G. Michael Reid’s wardrobe for this week’s presentation of the Last Word was contributed by Anthony Williams, a student from the Upper Division of the Holy Redeemer Primary School. The opinions expressed on the Last Word are those of G. Michael Reid and not necessarily those of Channel Five. Comments are always welcome.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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