Dominica is in search of a new Chief Cultural Officer and that’s because Raymond Lawrence, the man who has been at the helm of culture in this country, will retire from that post in January 2014, at the age of 60 years .
Raymond Lawrence has worked in the cultural division since 1982. In 1990 he was was temporally put “in charge” and three years later, he was appointed Chief Cultural Officer.
Lawrence, who has been awarded many times in Dominica and the region for his work in the field of culture for the past 31 years,will from November 11, 2013, be heading on pre-retirement leave.
“I am grateful and thankful that I was able to reach this milestone and thankful to God that I was able to play a role in Dominica’s development in the field of arts and culture,” he said.
Lawrence, who is the director of the everlasting Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company, is also a qualified broadcaster and worked with DBS Radio and Radio Antilles in Montserrat.
However, for him, arts and culture have been his love from “a boy”.
“I have been at the Cultural Division now for 31 years but long before that, since being a boy at school, I have been involved in arts and culture in Dominica. “When I went to Montserrat to work at then Radio Antilles, I help formed the Montserrat Dance Theatre and I was the Director of that group. Even after I am gone, I just would like to see culture grow in Dominica from strength to strength.”
With every job, he explained, there are challenges and while he agrees that culture could “maybe do with more staff, more funding etc,” he thinks that Dominica, being a developing country, one has to try to work with what is available and that is what has been done.
“We have for the most part, gotten a very good response from the general public, government and those who we work with and for. Even in the region from the other cultural departments, when they hear we have such a small staff, they are amazed and ask, ‘how are you all able to accomplish what you do with so little staff.’”
“I have no disappointment as such but the job had challenges… you take life as it comes. You take the work and try to do your very best. It’s been a wonderful experience I love culture a lot, I have been in it almost all my life and it was a pleasure working with people like Alwin (Bully) he was the first chief cultural officer, Pearl Christian, Earl Etienne and all the others that I have had the pleasure of working with over the years,” he said with the usual smile on his face.