The launch which took place in Port of Spain on Tuesday, featured a wealth of cultural performances that delved into soca, chutney, dance, spoken word, and of course, Trinidad and Tobago’s invention, the steel pan, performed by the National Steel Symphony Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago with Conductor Mr. Akua Leith.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes presented welcome remarks, while Minister of Community Development, Culture and Arts, Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly officially launched CARIFESTA XIV. She told the Ceremony CARIFESTA embodied Caribbean integration and gave expression to the uniqueness of the Caribbean reality.
"It is here that the people of the Region come together co-mingling and creating one Community and one people", she added.
The Minister announced that the Brand Ambassadors for CARIFESTA XIV were Aaron St. Louis (Voice), Neval Chatelal, Nishard M, Nylah Blackman and the world renowned Machel Montano.
The CARIFESTA XIV logo was also unveiled during the ceremony by the Manager, Corporate Communications at the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Arts, Rodelle Phillips-Simmons.
Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater, in remarks at the event, expressed appreciation to Trinidad and Tobago for its willingness to host CARIFESTA for the fourth time.
He said he was confident that the country’s experience hosting several cultural events combined with support from the Interim Festival Directorate, theCARICOMSecretariat, Member States and Associate Members of the Caribbean Community, would result in CARIFESTA being an exciting spectacle of excellence and diversity in the arts.
He cautioned, however, that while CARIFESTA was being celebrated as a major forum for cultural expression and cooperation in CARICOM, the critical role that it should play as a catalyst for generating economic benefits for artists and the cultural economy of the Region must also be recognised.
Dr. Slater used the opportunity to thank the sponsors and partners and noted that it was a major undertaking relying on partnerships between the Government, artists, the private sector, the media and other regional partners. He encouraged all CARICOM Member States and Associate Members and third country friends of the Region, to attend and participate to the fullest in the Festival.
"Very soon, in just nine months from now, Trinidad and Tobago will be abuzz with the presence of hundreds of visitors, and the performances of thousands of artists for CARIFESTA XIV. Trinidad and Tobago is the host, but the entire Caribbean is on show", Dr. Slater said.
Trinidad and Tobago previously hosted CARIFESTA V in 1992, CARIFESTA VI in 1995 and CARIFESTA IX in 2006. Other CARICOM Member States which hosted this culturally iconic event are: Guyana (1972, 2008), Jamaica (1976), Barbados (1981, 2017), St. Kitts and Nevis (2000), Suriname (2003, 2013) and Haiti (2015). The Festival was held in Cuba in 1979.
CARIFESTA, first held in 1972, is the Caribbean Community’s premier art and culture festival. Its main purpose, which was a mandate of the CARICOM Heads of Government, is to celebrate the arts, foster a vision of Caribbean unity while advancing Caribbean culture regionally and internationally.
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