Feature Address by Minister Gadsby-Dolly at the Launch of Mentoring by the Masters 2019

A very pleasant good morning to you.

Mentoring is one of our oldest, time-honoured, and successful ways of transferring knowledge. If we consider it, as parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, we are all mentors. There is always someone looking at us, and looking at what we are portraying to the national community.

It also denotes a sense of responsibility to each of us. It means that we have to be very careful about what we do. Each of us has to take unto ourselves the knowledge that whatever we do, whatever we say, there is someone looking at us and learning from us.

When we have persons in our society who have dedicated their lives to professionalizing their craft and skill, in the cultural sector; people who can be looked up to; people who can take up the responsibility of coming into a programme like this and interact with aspiring artistes with the view of helping them to thread their pathway, it is for us to honour and respect them. To our Mentors of 2019, and to all of our past mentors who are here with us, I want to give you an extra round of applause for taking this responsibility.

You do not have to do this. You do not have to sit and plan out a course, determine what you are going to do over the next couple of weeks with these students. It is work that many of you do not necessarily need, but you have seen it important to impart unto our younger generation of culture practitioners your knowledge, expertise, guidance. We surely do need it; all of us. Each of us need a good mentor to look at, to pattern ourselves after and to pass on these traditions of our culture. We have had an overwhelming response to this programme, and you will understand that our young cultural practitioners see the importance of it, and they are very grateful for it.

I wish to thank the staff of the Division of Culture at the Ministry, and the Artist registry, who have been putting on this programme for the past 7 years and working hard to find suitable mentors. I will tell you, it is not an easy task of culling the list. In Trinidad and Tobago, we are so fortunate to have so many people in the cultural sector who have developed a culture of excellence for themselves and their practice, and who are willing to share their knowledge.

This year, we have infused CARIFESTA itself with the Mentoring by the Masters Programme, and it is important these learnings transcend the festivities . I wish to thank the Mentors, the Division of Culture and the Artist registry, for doing such a good job at planning this programme. I thank our past mentees for your work and I look forward to what this new crop will learn. Our tradition of excellence will be passed on., and our young practitioners will understand what it measn to be disciplined, committed to work hard, to get the success that they desire.