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Best Village 2018 is up and running

Published: 
Friday, February 23, 2018
Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, centre, stands with the champions of the 2017 Prime Minister Best Village Trophy Competition. PICTURE MINISTRY OF CULTURE

The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts formally launched the 2018 Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition on, Friday February 16, at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa), San Fernando. It was also the prize giving ceremony for the 2017 competition winners.

This event signaled the start of the longest running community based programme in T&T, with its inception in 1963. The Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition was and is still very much intended to promote the nation’s culture through drama, song, music and dance; the folk and traditional arts and today’s launch gave a small taste of the talent within the Best Village competition.

Roadblock School of the Arts performed the national anthem on pan and they were followed by an East Indian devotional dance by a member of the Bollywood Dance Company, two beautifully executed performances to set the tone for the awards segments of the programme.

Gail Aberdeen-Francis, acting co-ordinator of the Best Village Unit, noted that the initial objective of Best Village was to create an integrated village concept throughout the country, saying that this must not die, even as the competition moves forward in 2018. She highlighted some of the achievements from the 2017 Best Village programme, which included training in various categories, such as dance and drumming, throughout at total of 174 communities.

Over 500 groups participated across Trinidad, including Tobago, who returned after a seven year hiatus. Aberdeen-Francis reminded the audience of the significance of the Junior Best Village programme as well as the role the La Reine Rive competition played in moulding young women. The Best Village programme not only unearths talents in drama, singing and dance, but in culinary arts, choral speaking and poetry, allowing for employment of over 100 tutors, artists and musicians.

The audience was then treated to an excellent performance by a member of the Reminiscence Cultural Group who delivered a ‘wake up’ call to parents, about the behaviour of their children in his thought provoking piece entitled Yuh Buy Dat? Prizes in six categories were then presented (see list below) followed by a spiritual and sobering dance by a member of IBIS T&T Performers.

In her feature address, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, reminded all of the early origins of Best Village, saying that it has evolved into what it is today, with a focus on support for indigenous theatre and the arts.

Minister Dolly noted that, “There isn’t a Best Village event that does not abound in passion” something many who are not in the programme often don’t understand. She noted that the Best Village Competition is bigger than any government, it’s the people’s programme, the longest running programme and “we must love it, own it and support it.”

She reminded the audience that many who they admire have their roots in Best Village including former National Calypso Monarch Singing Sandra, Machel Montano (2018 Road March winner), Leroy Birch (Big B) in the field of Extempo, who all had their start in Best Village, so the potential of this programme is limitless. The Minister assured those present that the Government will continue to do its part to sustain the programme and they would have noted the increase in prize money for 2017.

In conclusion, she thanked all those who continue to support the programme and urged them to push ahead and do more in 2018, despite the current economic and social challenges.

She encouraged all to spread the good news of Best Village, giving the assurance that the Ministry will continue to do its best to support the programme. She challenged them to share their passion and ensure it goes viral with #mybestvillage. Minister Gadsby-Dolly then declared the 2018 Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition open.

WINNERS

Trophies and cheques were presented to the winners of the 2017 Best Village season as follows:
VILLAGE CHAT
Cash Prize & Trophy - $10,000
1st Place - Bon Bassa Productions (St George West)
SHORT STORY
Cash Prize & Trophy - $5,000
1st Place - Signal Hill Police Youth Club (Tobago)
POETRY
Cash Prize & Trophy - $5,000
1st Place - Reminiscence Cultural Group (Victoria West)
SPOKEN WORD
Cash Prize & Trophy - $5,000
1st Place - Moruga School of wPerforming Arts (Victoria East)
FOLK FAIR (Best Menu of the day)
Cash Prize & Trophy - $10,000
1st Place - Bon Bassa Productions (St George West)
LA REINE RIVE
Cash Prize & Trophy - $37,500
1st Place - Rayshawn Pierre – North West Laventille Cultural Movement
(St. George West)
Cash Prize & Trophy - $22,500
2nd Place - Cavel Gordon - Tobago Drama Guild (Tobago)
Cash Prize & Trophy - $18,000
3rd Place - Rhesa Chan -Whiteland Village Council (Victoria West)
FOLK THEATRE
Cash Prize - $75,000
1st Place - Malick Folk Performing Company (St George East)
Cash Prize - $45,000
2nd Place - Bon Bassa Productions (St George Wrest)
Cash Prize - $30,000

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