Roseau, Dominica – November 13, 2008…….. Mr. Raymond Lawrence and the Dubique Cultural Group were jointly awarded the prestigious Edward Oliver Leblanc Trophy for their contribution to Dominica’s culture at the 2008 National Cultural Gala at the Botanic Gardens in Roseau on Sunday, November 2nd 2008.
The National Cultural Gala is one of the highlights of the independence activities when all groups from all over the island converge on one stage to display their talents in the varied manifestations of Dominica’s rich cultural heritage.
Every year an individual and/or group is awarded the Edward Oliver Leblanc Trophy, named after Dominica’s first Premier and Father of the Nation in recognition of efforts aimed at cultural preservation and development.
This year the trophy was awarded jointly to Chief Cultural Officer, Mr. Raymond Lawrence and the Dubique Cultural group.
The Dubique Cultural Group has won the Independence bele competition for the last five years and has performed at the National Cultural Gala every year since 2003. The group has also performed during the tourist season on several occasions.
Some members of the group have travelled to Martinique to participate in regional activities as part of a cultural exchange. The older members of the group have been passing on their traditional arts knowledge to the younger members of the group through training programmes. The group intends to participate in other traditional dances apart from bele and also travel to other countries to display their talents.
Mr. Raymond Lawrence has made a significant contribution in the field of culture in Dominica for nearly forty (40) years. He continues to play a pivotal role in the promotion and development of the island’s culture as Chief Cultural Officer and has initiated festivals and shows including the National Schools Arts Festival and emancipation celebrations. He established the Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company, a leading dance company in Dominica and has contributed to the promotion of culture through radio and television locally and regionally.
At the 2008 Cultural Gala, Mr. Edny Francis from Petite Savanne was granted the Life Achievement Award by the Cultural Division for his contribution to the preservation of the traditional arts in Dominica for several decades. Literary and Art Awards were awarded in the following categories: Short Story; Kweyol Poetry, English Poetry and Art.
The National Cultural Gala featured an address by the Minister for Community Development, Culture, Gender Affairs and Information, Hon. Loreen Bannis-Roberts. The highlight of the gala was a spectacular exposition of Dominica’s unique and diverse culture.
These included Jing Ping (Adults), Quadrille (Children), Mouth Organ, Heel and Toe, String Band, Kont ( Children), Sotice (Children), Creative Dance (Children), Kokoy Song (Group), Waltz (Adults), Polka Merengue (Adults), Drumming Ensemble-Ti Bwa, Mazouk (Children), Bele (Children), Kweyol Song (Group-Adults), Flirtation(Adults) among many others.