New Spicemas chairman wants to maximize Diaspora participation

Grenadian Ambassador and Spicemas Chairman, Arley Gill. Arley Gill
Grenadian Ambassador and Spicemas Chairman, Arley Gill.
Arley Gill

Arley Gill, the new chairman of the Spicemas Corporation, a statutory body responsible for planning and executing Grenada’s carnival, says that among his primary goals is to “maximize participation from the Diaspora, especially New York.”

“We want Grenadians in the Diaspora to contribute by producing songs, playing in the mas’ bands, joining the steel bands,” Gill, an attorney, who served as minister responsible for Culture and Information Communications Technology (ICT) from 2008-2012, told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview.

“We appreciate that the Diaspora is our first market, and we will aggressively promote Spicemas in the Diaspora and encourage Grenadian, Caribbean and people from all nationalities to come join us for carnival,” added Gill, who also served as Grenada’s representative on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Commission on Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Gill, who currently serves as Grenada’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said he will liaise with different Grenadian groups and individuals in his new role.

But he added that he has “always had a fruitful relationship” with renowned Brooklyn-based, Grenadian entertainment promoter Derek Ventour, and “will rely on him heavily for his advice and guidance.”

“I expect Grenadians to participate in the carnival and to come home by the thousands to enjoy the mas with us,” said Gill, who served as a magistrate in Dominica from 2013-2018.

“It is important to reach out to the Diaspora, because that is our first market for Spicemas and our cultural practitioners who ply their trade outside of the carnival season,” he stressed. “Thus, it is important economically, but it is also important for the preservation and promotion of our culture.”

Gill said he accepted his new position, on or about Nov. 16, because he believes that, as the main architect of the Spicemas Corporation — which was incorporated in 2011, when he was Minister responsible for Culture – he can help in making the corporation “realize its potential and assist in developing Grenada’s carnival product.

“The ultimate objective is to deliver a world class carnival,” said Gill, who is also a judge in the National Calypso Competition in Spicemas.

“To achieve that, the individual stakeholder product must be developed,” added the published writer, and frequent commentator on contemporary cultural, political, legal and social issues.

“That means that the songs produced, the costumes paraded and the quality of the steel band music must be of a high standard,” he continued. “In addition, we must have high quality production of carnival events. In short, the goal is to transform Grenada’s carnival.”

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