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The National Institute of Culture and History today announced plans for a series of initiatives intended to improve Belize's music industry. The plans were made public during a mi-morning press conference to formally introduce the new Goodwill Music Ambassador for Belize, Moses Michael Levi. President of NICH, Dianne Haylock, outlines what are some of the projects that are being contemplated.

Dianne Haylock; President, NICH

"One of the things that we hope to establish very soon is a Music Industry Development Fund. We will grow this fund really by doing fund raising events locally and internationally; concerts and other types of activities. One of the hopes is that we would be able to get a pledge of approximately US$150 thousand in a short space of time to actually be able to finance some of the work that will be undertaking. A first immediate project for us in terms of laying-when I say first project- I mean that we are going to be laying the ground work for this is a national youth orchestra. Another important activity that we will be looking at is a music in schools program and this we are going to be doing in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and in some ways building on the efforts of our Governor General who we all know already has a music in schools program. We are hoping that we can do a pilot project at the primary and secondary school levels in rural and urban communities in Belize to be able to provide instruments and the teachers/facilitators to provide the necessary instructions. We are looking at a scholarship program for people with the talent to go and study music. We are looking at a program that will reach out to the out of school urban youth and we are hoping that we can develop collaborative relationships with programs like the Conscious Youth Development Program or the Youth for the Future program."

Haylock says that the success of the initiatives will depend a great deal on availability of resources.

Patrick Jones, Reporter

You mentioned at least four projects that you are hoping that this good will ambassadorship will support. Is there a time table that you are looking at in terms of getting all of this in place?

Dianne Haylock; Goodwill Music Ambassador

"The finances to put into some of these programs´┐ŻI said earlier too that the youth orchestra is one of the first projects that we want to work on. So, we are going to be working with two or three of the people who teach music to develop that youth orchestra program and then the next phase of that will be to identify the young people who would participate in that we don't want to simply go and take a bunch of young people who are currently doing music in established programs. We want to see where the talent is and where there are young people whether they are in school or out of school who have something there that we can work with to help them to develop these skills. Of course, we are going to get the necessary instruments and additional persons to be able to facilitate the training session with these young people. The program has begun with the announcement of the Goodwill Music Ambassador today."

For his part, Levi told reporters that his appointment is his way of giving back to his country.

Moses Levi

"I don't have much to say except that I am humbled an honored that the cabinet felt that I could be of use to my country. I feel it is my patriotic duty regardless of a title to help however I can and I believe with my resources in the music industry and just in entertainment period and being a globetrotter that there are unlimited things that we can do for the arts and culture in Belize and just Belize in general. Again, I am humbled and honored that the cabinet and Ms. Haylock saw fit that I could be of use and were ready to make the best of all the opportunities that I have for Belize."

Patrick Jones, Reporter

To paraphrase an old country and western song, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Is this shine using Belize to further his own career?

Moses Levi

"I mean, the day I got off the plane the first place I went to was the juvenile home, you know, the following week I brought Professor Ogletree, Harvard Law Professor, mentor of President Obama to speak at Wesley College, the following week I brought Doctor Baz Dreisinger, Professor at John J Law school to speak to the women at St. Catherine's and Nazarene. So this has nothing to do with an ambassadorship as I spoke earlier. This is going to be doing regardless of a title. Being an ambassador does not help my career, making hit records helps my career. I am a musician not a politician. I am not trying to run for Prime Minister, that's Mr. Barrow, I'm Mr. Levi. So for me it is all about selling records, making the best music I can make and that's really the bottom line. Now, as a social activist, because I am from the school of Professor Ogletree and the same thing he taught Obama and he taught Michelle Obama and all the other people he trained and mentored is that it is not about me, it is about helping people. It is about being a social activist; you have done enough to contribute to the other side of society not it is your time to pay back. And that is just what you are supposed to do, helping me was a payback. I didn't have any money; I ran out of money years ago. So, again this is just what I am supposed to do it is not an ambassadorship that brings me to do it because I have been doing it before that. I fell in love with Tania Carter's excellence before an ambassadorship. I have been going to the youth hostels and all these other schools before any title and I will be continuing to go whether or not there is a title. So, it has nothing to do with my career, I don't want to be Prime Minister that's for Mr. Barrow and maybe one of his other children."

Today's press conference was held at the Belize City House of Culture. Following the meeting with reporters, NICH officials, including the Goodwill Music Ambassador held a consultation with local artists. 


Joined: Oct 1999
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Shyne the Saviour?

The man who says he wants to industrialize his native Belize through his music was officially announced the country's Music and Goodwill Ambassador this morning at a press briefing held at the House of Culture this morning. Moses "Shyne" Levy accompanied by label owner Irv Gotti spoke to the gathering of mostly local musicians and the press corps about his plans to globalize Belizean music and its artists.

And because such an effort will require significant resources and connections, who better to do it than the man himself, Moses Levy, better known as "Shyne". Jim McFadzean was at the briefing and has this report.

Diane Haylock
"I want to point out very clearly that this is an honorary position."

No pay with the job says NICH's Director, Diane Haylock, but who needs it.

Moses "Shine" Levy
"I believe with my resources in the music industry and in the music entertainment period and being a globe trotter, there are unlimited things that we can do for the arts and culture in Belize and just Belize in general."

With the key declaration: "Money is no Object" out the way, the musically coined "What have you done for me lately" was right on cue.

Patrick Jones, reporter
"Is this just Shyne using Belize to further his own career?"

Moses Levy
"The day I got off the plane, the first place I went to was a juvenile home, the following week I brought Professor Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law Professor, Mentor of President Obama, to speak at Wesley College, the following week I brought Dr. Baas Drysinger, Professor at John J. Law School to speak to the women at St. Catherines and Nazarene, so this has nothing to do with an ambassadorship as I spoke earlier, this is what I'm going to do regardless of a title."

Bredda David Obie
"If someone offers me situation like that, in many cases I would say well let's talk with these people and let me get a vibe from them, see if I really want to do this or not, so I wasn't really happy about that evolvement, but I understand the world of politics,"

Moses Levy
"Well, this has nothing to do with politics."

Bredda David Obie
"Hold on hold on, let me finish what I'm saying please. I just said that I understand the world of politics, so I understand one of the reasons how we got to this point, there's nothing wrong with that please."

Moses Levy
"As far as I am concerned you know, I sold a couple million records, throughout the world, so for me what I can do for my country is for my country, this has nothing to do with a music industry per se, you know, being a goodwill ambassador as well as a music ambassador, I'm here to help my country so this is not even a conversation, this is incumbent upon me to do everything in my power to help my country, that's why I am here. I could be in the Turks and Caicos right now or Japan and anyone of these fascinating luxurious place living it up that's not my commitment, that's not my life, my life is to make my country better."

And the man of the music hour says, more than money, he's got what it takes to be Belize's best Music Goodwill Ambassador.

Moses Levy
"Besides selling millions of records I am a man with impeccable integrity which means when I say something that's what it is."

Reporting for Seven News, I'm Jim McFadzean.

And to prove that he is in fact going to put his money where his mouth is, Belize's Music Goodwill Ambassador announced that a percentage of monies earned from his World Tours will go directly to a fund established to develop local talent. While he didn't say what percentage, Levy said $150,000 has already been deposited to the account, a hundred thousand of which he has personally donated.Channel 7

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