Dominica’s highest cultural award has been bestowed upon four individuals who have been instrumental in promoting and developing Dominica’s culture.
On Wednesday evening, president of Dominica, Charles A. Savarin, presented the Golden Drum Award to 2012 Cultural Elder of Warner Henry Alexander for the Preservation of Traditional Arts, radio announcer and DJ Leroy “Wadix” Charles for the Promotion of Creole Music and Language, Noreen Joseph for theatre and preservation of Culture, and former Chief Cultural Officer Raymond Lawrence, received a standing ovation, for Cultural Leadership and Development.
The awardees were encouraged to remain committed to making a difference in their communities and districts by acting Chief Cultural Officer, Jacinta David.
“Our culture must continue to play a major role in Dominica’s development thrust and to help build and strengthen our sense of national pride and national identity,” she stated. “Our culture must also continue to play a major role in uniting the Dominican family for development. It is our strength and our heritage.”
She added that the Golden Drum Awards forms part of the Emancipation Celebrations which celebrate freedom.
In the meantime, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Marcella Powel, explained that the Golden Drum symbolizes the drum in the fight for freedom and in the celebration of that freedom, gained 180 years ago.
“In issuing these awards we recognize and say thank you for your sterling contribution to culture,” she stated. “We know this is not the end of the road. You are still very much involved in developing and promoting our culture. This demonstrates your passion for the arts and culture.”
Powel added that the awardees’ passion has been their driving force throughout the years. She pointed out that this year’s Golden Drum ceremony coincides with the 180th anniversary of the abolition of slavery and the 200th anniversary of the death of Jacko, Dominica’s paramount maroon chief which are two important milestones in Dominica’s history.
She noted further that the Golden Drum ceremony is one of the ways that as a people Dominicans have been seeking to overcome one of the effects of slavery, “that is the oppression of our cultural identity.”
Additionally, five individuals were presented with Special Recognition Awards.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Marcella Powell presented these awards to Imelda Aaron for Cultural Leadership and Promotion of Steel Pan Music, Algernon “Ras Algie” Adams for Performance and Visual Arts, Lesslassa Armour-Shillignford for Excellence in Queen Pageantry, Peter Letang for Music, and Petros Meaza for Promotion and Development of Arts.