The 2022 Alliouguana Festival of the Word (AFW) hosted by the Montserrat Arts Council in collaboration with Golden Media held two of its activities at the Montserrat Cultural Centre during its week of activities in November 2022. On November 17 th the AFW held a movie night which introduced a special advanced screening featuring a Howard Allen film from out of Antigua named Deep Blue. They also presented a comedy series from out of St. Maarten called the Fab 4 & the Silent Retreat.
The events on November 19 saw the launch of several books. The first was by our well-known local Arthur Sir Howard Fergus titled ‘Intriguing story’, Deonne Whisky John discussed her “UMPH-writing stories using box paragraphing’, and Ian Gerald – ‘The Professionals’ Journals Series’. Royden Silcott from Montserrat launched his first book from his Cassava Kids Collective called ‘Responsible Rosie’ and Coryn Anaya Clark from Trinidad also launched her new publication from her Chronicles of Coryn series. The evening ended with a book party and fun day for the children which included face painting and book swaps.
The 72nd Meeting of the OECS Authority was held in Montserrat on the 19th and 20th October, 2022. The meeting was hosted by the Chairman Hon. Easton Taylor-Farrell, Premier of Montserrat. The meeting saw representation from Government leaders from across the OECS Region to include Antigua, Anguilla, The British Virgin Islands, Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, including representations from the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. The meeting was supported by the Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules. The Chief Justice of the Eastern Supreme Court Dame Janice M. Pereina also made representation.
The meeting concluded on the 20 th of October, 2022 with a Town Hall meeting and press conference in the Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
The Legislative Office is currently in its 7 th year of hosting an orientation programme for new students entering the Montserrat Secondary School at the first form level. Presently there are some 50 students participating in this workshops. This programme was organized to provide the new students with key information to assist them with the transition from Primary School to the Secondary School level.
Topics addressed included: – classroom etiquette, team building exercise, time management, understanding the importance of rules, conflict resolution, learning styles and techniques, how to become a well-rounded student. The Legislators were also on hand to make brief presentations to the students.
The second annual production of PRIME – Produced in Montserrat Expo, was held on July 23rd and 24th 2022 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
Organized by the Trade and Quality Infrastructure Division in conjunction with the Montserrat Arts Council, PRIME is billed as the ideal market place for goods and services produced in Montserrat. The event provided an opportunity for small businesses to increase their revenue potential, expand their market potential while utilizing the opportunity for networking and interacting with other entrepreneurs and customers.
Adena Johnson, Principal Trade and Quality Infrastructure Officer in the Trade and Quality Infrastructure Division says “the Expo an opportunity to spark some creativity and business ideas among our young persons on Montserrat. The hope is that the youths of today will become inspired and motivated to venture into the world of entrepreneurship”. This year the added entertainment feature were presentations from the Matrixx Dance Group and the Volpanics Steel Orchestra on Sunday the 24th July, 2022.
The National Service of Thanksgiving was held on July 20, 2022, in the George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The Service was held under the theme – ‘Give God his due’. The service of thanksgiving is one in which the Government of Montserrat recognizes the plight of its citizens through the years from the Soufriere Hills Volcanic Eruptions which started in July some 27years ago – acknowledging the lives lost and the devastating impact to the local economy, and being thankful for the progress made on Montserrat since then.
The service was coordinated by the Ministry responsible for Ecclesiastic Affairs – the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Montserrat Christian Council. The Liturgist for the evening was Rev. Gesner Louis-Charles, Chairman of the Montserrat Christian Council. The message was presented by Rev. Kellar McFarlane. The praise and worship session were led by the Church of God Choir. Other special presentations included an instrumental piece by McLoyd White, and a musical item by the Emerald Community Singers.
The Montserrat Secondary School hosted its 2022 Graduation Exercise July 6, 2022 under the theme -‘Through adversity and loss, like the Phoenix, we rise from the ashes’. There were 63 students who graduated as part of Class of 2022. The Feature address was delivered by Dr. Tiffannie Skeritt and the Principles address delivered by Mr. Toney Allen. The graduation award for excellence in Mathematics was issued to Vashirn Roache, Excellence in Business went to Vashirn Roache, Outstanding leadership went to Waynette Fenton, Excellence in Humanities went to Waynette Fenton, Excellence in Business and IT went to Mikayla Cole and for the boy with Exemplary Conduct went to Jeremiah Collymore. The valedictory address was given by Vashirn Roach and the vote of thanks by Ms. Waynette Fenton. Congratulations to all of the graduates of Class of 2022.
Six nationals were awarded at the 7 th National Honours and Awards Ceremony on March 12, 2022, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The Order of Merit was awarded to Mr. William O’Garro and Bishop Kenneth Harewood OBE. The Order of Distinction awarded to Lady Eudora Fergus and Mr. Sylvester Browne. The Order of Excellence award went to Dr. Vernie Clarice Barnes and Mr. Kenneth Allen QC, OBE.
The Hon Premier Mr. Joseph E. Farrell in his opening remarks recognized each of the awardees contribution to Montserrat’s development and congratulated them on their achievements.
Entertainment during the evening was provided by Mrs. Mildred Chalmers who sang the National Song. A steel pan rendition of local songs was wonderfully performed by Josiah Persaud. The Emerald Shamioles, one of the local cultural masquerade dance groups, also entertained the audience with some shortened versions of several their very colourful and engaging dances. The final entertainment came from Keithroy ‘De Bear” Morson, the reigning calypso king in Montserrat.
The Mountain Aglow exhibition hosted by the Montserrat Volcano Observation (MVO) will be on display from March 10 th 2022 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. This exhibit is one that is expected to depict how the Soufriere Hills Volcano’s eruption impacted on the island of Montserrat, whilst embracing the richness of Montserrat’s natural environment.
The “Mountain Aglow” is a project funded by a research grant from the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which is led by Prof Jenni Barclay (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) and by Dr Karen Pascal, Ms. Kathleen Retourne of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory here on Montserrat. One of the main objectives of this project was to examine into how the local culture, the arts, combined with the expertise of those who have experienced a natural hazard such as a volcanic eruption, can help with volcanic risks awareness and preparedness, which ultimately will lead to recovery.
The exhibit uses photographs, drawings, interviews, songs or poetry excerpts, etc. which allows them to share and promote the scientific knowledge, including the knowledge and experiences from the population of their coping mechanism of how they managed to live with an erupting volcano.
The first “Mountain Aglow” exhibit premiered in Montserrat during the 2019 Alliouagana Literature Festival in November of 2019, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The exhibit has since been showcased around the island to include at the Montserrat National Museum, and the Montserrat Community College.
The administrators of the Montserrat Cultural Centre note with regret the sad passing of playwright, versatile theatre artist and journalist David Edgecombe at the age of 69. From early age David strove for excellence in theatre and attained it to the delight of Montserratian audiences and theatre lovers across the region. He expressed and enacted the view that amateur theatre does not have to be amateurish. His plays have travelled across the region to places like Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Thomas- just to name a few and even to as far away as Nigeria.
Moving to St. Thomas, he became Director of the Reichhold Centre for the Arts at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) where he was also a Professor. In his capacity as theater instructor at UVI, he wrote numerous plays capturing the Caribbean life experiences thereby showcasing its unique culture and history. His theatre productions enabled students to recognize, embrace, develop and display their talents in one form or another. His work with the youths at UVI allowed him to spot talent and create avenues for them to showcase these talents.
Thus his death has left a large gap in the artistic world, especially in the Caribbean region. Understandably, volumes of tributes are coming from everywhere for this prominent Montserratian, this exponent of the arts, and we at the Montserrat Cultural Centre want to add our voices to the chorus. His was a huge and lasting legacy and Montserrat in particular, is proud of this accomplished son. We express our sincere sympathies to all of his family members and close friends. His loss is a national one.
The 13th Annual Alliouagana Festival of the Word hosted by The University of the West Indies campus here in Montserrat is scheduled to take place from November 18 to November 20, 2021. Some of the locally scheduled events include:
• The Write Montserrat Exhibition at the Montserrat Public Library from Monday, November 15 to Saturday, November 20
• The Children’s Book Parade on Thursday, November 18 from 10AM and
• The Author Gala on Saturday, November at 6PM at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The author gala will feature new books from seven authors including Sir Howard Fergus, Edwin ‘Red Ride” Martin, Shirley Osborne, and Jennifer Joseph.
The Authors Gala is going to be quite an interesting evening with discussions and feedback from various persons. Tickets for the gala are now on sale for EC$100 and can be purchased from the Montserrat Arts Council or the Montserrat Public Library.
P.R.I.M.E Displays 2022
Summer Weddings 2022
M/rat Carnival Queen for Antigua 2022
Lady Under The Stairs realeased at MCC on 17th Sept. 2021