Wrong time, NCF

I may be wrong, and I usually am, but a job lost at this time (age and economic situation considered) is doubly catastrophic!

Recently and without much notice, several teaching employees (various disciplines in the arts) at the National Cultural Foundation have been told that the programme is “being discontinued and with immediate effect”! This group includes yours truly, who had been in this position of teaching at primary schools for the past seven years.

I know there has been much talk in the media about who will and will not lay off and I swear this is not an attempt to politicise the issue but the reality is, with two school age kids I find myself wanting.

Who decides these things and even though I would never know if the decision was unilateral, it is not unheard of at West Terrace. The unfortunate result of all this is not just my dislocation but has anyone thought of the primary school kids who have been devastated or at the very least disappointed?

The programme was conceived for the purpose of allowing these kids the avenue to be part of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts in a structured way. They looked forward to “being on TV” but it was more than that: it imbued them with a confidence that they could use no matter into what area their lives would lead them; it showed them that a role in the arts can be just as beneficial as that of being in the legal or medical fields.

If also seems inconsistent with the expressed policy of special emphasis on the arts as a vector for economic activity.

This could not have been a decision made on the spot but with extensive plans already afoot for the next NIFCA presentation I was truly disappointed, not only at the suddenness but also the irony that this job, which was started under the aegis of one government, has been discontinued under that of another!

My party in power … they say!

— William “Smokey” Burke

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