This announcement was made during a ceremony on November 13 where the honour was bestowed on Dr. Georges as he was officially named the Virgin Island’s Poet Laureate. The Virgin Islands Poet Laureate programme was initiated by the Department of Culture.
Dr. Georges is the first to hold such a prestigious title in the Virgin Islands and will do so for a period of three years.
Dr. Georges, in acknowledging the recognition and achievement, said that the arts is important to the development of the Territory.
“While this is a great personal milestone, I believe what is more important is what it portents for the undreamt future.”
He thanked his former literary teachers for the ‘foundation’ he received and his supporters in the community and abroad for his success.
During tenure, Dr. Georges is expected to carry out the following responsibilities:
* Act as a literary ambassador to promote greater appreciation for the reading and writing of poetry
* Act as a cultural ambassador for the Territory, promoting the understanding of and appreciation for Virgin Islands history and cultural heritage through poetry
* Present an annual lecture and reading of his poetry (optional)
* Represent the Territory at different local, regional and international literary events
* Give a reading or presentation to inaugurate and close his term
* Develop programmes and projects designed to increase the appreciation of poetry in the Virgin
* Create and/or take part in mentorship programmes to mentor emerging poets such as the Writing with Writers workshop
* Make suggestions for the improvement of existing literary programmes and projects
Literary Arts Officer in the Department of Culture, Ms. Anika M. Christopher explained that the designation of a National Poet Laureate has become a country’s way to express its love and appreciation for the art of poetry. She said the Poet Laureate of the Virgin Islands is selected from among the Territory’s most accomplished poets.
Ms. Christopher added, “The criteria for the poet’s nomination and appointment are based on the subject matter of their written work, which should speak to the unique experiences of the Virgin Islands. This can range from societal issues to our cultural heritage and history. The volume/quantity of their work as well as the quality should be evidenced through awards and other literary achievements.”
The honourary position of Virgin Island’s First Poet Laureate is appointed by the Minister or Government or a committee appointed by the Minister or Government. In the case of an appointment of a committee, the selection process will be carried out first by nomination of poets who fit the given criteria, following which the committee will come together to make a vote.
Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.