January 10, 2017. Rawson Square, being occupied by We Marchers. I’m there, live streaming on Facebook, when the marchers come streaming in. There’s a knot of people that’s moving across the square, and when it gets to me I realize it’s Dr. Minnis and his entourage: the (then former) Leader of the Opposition, moving through the crowd, gladhanding and accepting accolades.
He sees me.
“I know you should be a happy young lady,” he tells me. “You see we’ve announced we will have an independent ministry of culture.”
I laugh. I have heard this before. Eleven years ago: February 2006, to be exact.
“We’ll see. Mouth could say anything,” I tell him.
“That’s the difference between doctors and lawyers,” he tells me. “A doctor is trained to tell the truth. I can’t talk bout lawyers.”
Five months later, Dr. Minnis becomes the Prime Minister. We wait. (My breath is not bated; I know better. I have spoiled my ballot for a reason. But never mind.)
The ministries are announced.
There is—wait for it—a ministry of youth, sports and culture. O joy! But no, wait—
That is not an independent ministry of culture at all.
Culture is still And Culture.
But at least it’s headed for the VERY FIRST TIME by a professional cultural artist: Michael Pintard, poet, performer, playwright. Nobody seems to notice this, except for cultural artists; there’s no announcement in the paper about an artist for the FIRST TIME being made minister of culture. (but later, there’ll be whole stories about the first woman heading up sports. NOT the MBE awarded athlete MP, mind you, but anyway …)
Fast forward. July 2018. There has been a cabinet shuffle. Four ministries are affected, among them—you guessed it—the ministry of And Culture! Our poet is moved to, wait what? Agriculture. And who do you think the new Minister of And Culture is?