State Secretary of Culture and Media Günay Uslu visited Saba on Tuesday, January 10.
The State Secretary and her delegation arrived on the last flight on Sunday, January 9 and started her official program the next morning with a meeting with the Executive Council, followed by a meeting with the Island Council at the Government Administration Building.
During the meeting with the Executive Council, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Rolando Wilson presented the Saba Cultural Policy 2023-2030 to State Secretary Uslu. The Cultural Policy is a comprehensive document containing detailed information about the importance of culture on Saba and the specific areas that government wants to work on in the coming years.
“I am proud to have presented our new Cultural Policy to the State Secretary with whom we had a very good meeting. As Commissioner of Culture, I am heartened to be part of a government that has placed a high priority on ensuring that all of us as Sabans are knowledgeable about our unique culture,” said Wilson.
“This policy document is timely since a concerted effort is made in it to create an avenue for the survival of our legacy of our people. With this policy, the government hopes to steer and guide regulations and programs that will regulate, protect and financially or otherwise support activities which we hope will promote both social and economic benefits for our island,” stated Wilson.
The State Secretary visited the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) for a meeting with the Executive Director of the Foundation for Catholic Education Saba SKOSaba and the Saba Educational Foundation (SEF) Anton Hermans, and the new SCS Principal Jessica Besselink. Culture and heritage, and the Saba canon, play an important role in the school curriculum.
Lynn Costenaro and Emily Malsack of Sea and Learn met with the State Secretary and her delegation as well, and gave an explanation about Sea and Learn, Saba’s successful annual scientific event with visiting scientists and the participation of the community. Costenaro also showed the State Secretary an example of the Adopt-a-Box project whereby the electrical boxes throughout the island are being beautified.
The State Secretary paid a visit to the Queen Wilhelmina Library in The Bottom where head librarian Tiffany Zagers showed Uslu the library and explained the workings of the library, the projects that have taken place to upgrade the library and its services, and its importance for the Saba community.
Before departing Saba, the State Secretary and her delegation visited the Harry L. Johnson Museum in the Windwardside. Chairman of the Harry L. Johnson Museum Board Glenn Holm and museum guide Jennifer Johnson gave a tour of the museum and provided background information about Saba’s rich history and heritage.
This was Uslu’s first visit to Saba. “I am impressed. It is a beautiful island and it has a lot of potentials. There is so much history and heritage here. I was very happy to learn about Saba,” she said. The State Secretary announced that investments will be made in so-called culture coaches who will assist with connecting culture with the local community and the various stakeholders, including sports, heritage, and education.
Uslu also mentioned that the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW) is investing in modernizing libraries throughout the Kingdom. “We are intensifying our collaboration and that is a very good thing.”