Friday, 30 March 2012 02:30
By Colin Sampson
Antigua StJohn's - Culture Minister Eleston “Namba” Adams has sought to set the record straight about his reported threat to withdraw from the calypso scene in 2012 if urgent road repairs are not carried out in his St Paul’s constituency.
The Member of Parliament and sometimes participant in the preliminary stages of the Calypso Monarch competition chose an in-studio appearance on the Colin Sampson Show on Thursday to address what he viewed as misreporting of his statements.
Readers are invited to visit the Caribarena.com video archive to hear highlights of the conversation, which ran for over 90 minutes.
Adams, who sings calypso under the name of Dr Paul, wants his true meaning made clear. “How can I,” he asked rhetorically, “be singing calypso when the roads in my constituency of St Paul’s are in such poor condition?”
Displaying what can only be referred to as a “No More Mr Nice Guy” attitude, Adams promised to give the lie to those who alleged that he his shirking his leadership role. In fact, he said, people should look forward to the appearance on the scene of another Chanlah Codrington.
The MP assured his long-suffering constituency that he would be their champion to secure infrastructural justice for all the people of St Paul’s, and for the Falmouth/English Harbour areas in particular.
He strongly believes that a country’s business centres should be a primary focus for such matters as road maintenance and infrastructural services. As such, he advanced the view that St John's, the island’s main business centre, should receive appropriate attention in that respect.
However, Adams insisted that English Harbour, Falmouth, and their environs are more than deserving of equal consideration with the capital in respect of road maintenance and infrastructural support. These districts too, Adams pointed out, are a major business centre in their own right. The yachting industry, a major component of the national economy, is focussed in that area.
The parliamentary representative is determined to demonstrate to his constituents that he can and will deliver the goods on road maintenance. Like Codrington, his colleague in All Saints West, he takes an exceedingly dim view of the over-concentration of Public Works resources and equipment in certain blessed and highly favoured constituencies.
Like Codrington, Adams is demanding that the United Progressive Party devise a more equitable basis for distribution of infrastructural support on a national level.
Under such conditions, said Adams, no way can his alter-ego Dr Paul be out there singing calypso while the people of St Paul’s are crying out for justice.
When the people need representation, he said his first duty as MP is to be actively dealing with the people’s business. This is the true import of his statements, which were apparently misapprehended and consequently misreported by the media workers present at the time.
During the wide-ranging conversation, Adams touched on a number of “hot-button” issues.
Regarding the reported selection of barrister Kayode O’Marde to serve as chair of the Carnival Development Committee (CDC), the minister of Carnival intimated that the matter has been submitted to Cabinet for a final decision.
As such, he noted, it would be premature to make a definitive announcement until the ratification process is completed.
However, Adams intimated that O’Marde is his choice for the position recently vacated by Vaughn Walter, who continues in his substantive post as director of culture. The Carnival minister made it clear that were O’Marde to accept the CDC chairmanship, he would be expected to forego any current management connection to soca star Tian Winter.
The culture minister declined to soften his position in relation to one of his consistent critics, who Adams said has been calling for his resignation for six years. He reiterated his assessment that the individual is motivated by personal spleen, having been denied an opportunity to travel to Trinidad & Tobago as part of the last Carifesta delegation. As such, Adams continued to dismiss out of hand any comments emanating from that quarter.
He militated strongly in favour of greater marketing support from the tourism ministry and tourism stakeholders. At the same time (and somewhat paradoxically) he expressed a desire to see culture removed from within the Ministry of Tourism and established as a stand-alone ministry in its own right.
Regarding the controversial issue of what to do with “Carnival Wednesday,” the traditional night of the “LIAT Caribbean Melting Pot,” the culture minister revealed that matters are still very much “up in the air”. As of now, the one sure thing is that LIAT will continue to place its brand on whatever event transpires on that evening.
The minister of Carnival apparently sees nothing untoward in the trend toward the National Festivals Office (NFO), which has a permanent existence, taking over more and more of the functions of the CDC. Adams appeared quite untroubled by the prospect of announcing a new CDC slate in mid-April, with Carnival 2012 a mere three months away. The work, he said, is going on.