CARIFESTA XIII Opening Ceremony postponed as Tropical Storm Harvey approaches Barbados

 August 17, 2017 @ 8:16 pm   
CARIFESTA_XIII-LOGO-WHITE-GLOW
Barbados Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley. (Photo via Barbados Government Information Service -  FP)
Barbados Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, the Hon. Stephen Lashley (Photo via Barbados Government Information Service -
FP)

The Opening Ceremony of CARIFESTA XIII, scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, August 18, at Kensington Oval, has been postponed due to the approach of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made the disclosure this evening, and explained that the preparations for the impending weather system had greatly impacted the arrangements for the opening ceremony.

“The national response ahead of the system has forced the cancellation of the mandatory dress rehearsal which was scheduled to be held at Kensington Oval this evening…  Immediate measures have also had to be taken to safeguard equipment at the venue,” Mr. Lashley stated.

In addition, the Minister noted that due to the expected inclement weather, some flights would be impacted, and some of the delegations due to arrive in Barbados would be delayed.

Mr. Lashley said that a new date for the opening ceremony would be announced “very shortly”, and all tickets and arrangements for entry to the event would be honoured. (Barbados Government Information Service Press Release)

CARIFESTA XIII – An opportunity for Regional economic progress

 August 17, 2017 @ 10:57 am   
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‘Asserting our future, celebrating ourselves’ is the theme for the 13th Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII), which takes place in Barbados on August 17-27, 2017.

CARIFESTA has been the Caribbean Community’s premier art and culture festival since 1972. This roving event attracts artists and culture professionals from more than 30 countries in the Region and has been held 12 times across eight Member States. The thirteenth staging of this mega cultural showcase will see performers, artists and a range of cultural ambassadors from the Caribbean Region converging in a medley of sounds and sights that are sure to capture the true essence of Regional Integration.

 “I would encourage everyone to come and experience CARIFESTA XIII in Barbados. It is an exciting celebration of Caribbean arts and culture where you can enjoy the artistic presentations of artists from 27 countries in our region in a wide range of disciplines over 10 days. There will be over 500 performances and events to choose from, so there will never be a dull moment,” says Dr. Hillary Brown, Programme Manager Culture and Community Development at the CARICOM Secretariat.

CARIFESTA: A CARICOM mandate

The main purpose of CARIFESTA, a mandate of the CARICOM Heads of Government, is to celebrate the arts and foster a vision of Caribbean unity while advancing Caribbean culture regionally and internationally. In its original design, the Festival was to be held every four years. However, it is now hosted every two years, with the responsibility for doing so traditionally being shared by the Caribbean Community, its Secretariat and the host country.

Barbados is hosting this event for the second time; the first being in 1981. Other Member States that have hosted this Community iconic event are: Guyana (1972, 2008), Jamaica (1976), Cuba (1979), Trinidad and Tobago (1992, 1995, 2006), St. Kitts and Nevis (2000), Suriname (2003, 2013) and Haiti (2015).

Strengthening the Region’s creative industries

CARIFESTA XIII will  place significant focus  on strengthening the Region’s creative industries. and will feature an expanded Marketplace component with the creation of a Buyers Shopping Mall at the CARIFESTA XIII Grand Market at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

According to Festival Director, Ms. Andrea Wells, the Buyers Shopping Mall will be an upgrade of the usual CARIFESTA Grand Market, where cultural artisans normally have the opportunity to display and sell their items. CARIFESTA XIII organisers have also made arrangements for buyers from across the world to meet with, review and sample the various arts and services that will be on display at the Grand Market. The aim is to link them to bigger markets in Europe, North America, and South America.

Dr. Brown says this expanded Caribbean Marketplace for the Arts is intended to generate more business opportunities for Caribbean artists, through interactions with international buyers who have been invited to the Festival.

This is an important activity that is in keeping with the region’s efforts to develop creative and cultural industries,” she explained.

CARIFESTA is being hosted in Barbados at a time when that country has demonstrated its commitment to the development of cultural industries through the passing of legislation that gives incentives to artists, cultural businesses and entrepreneurs in 2015.

But why is it so important to focus on CARICOM’s creative industries at this juncture? The answer lies in the fact that in several developed countries creative industries are emerging as a strategic choice for reinvigorating economic growth, employment and social cohesion. These industries  have been making significant contributions to the economies of  the world in  similar fashion to that of traditional industries. The United Kingdom’s creative industries for example, contribute almost £90bn net to GDP and accounts for one in 11 jobs. In the case of South Africa, that country’s first cultural and creative industries mapping study done in 2014 showed that their cultural industries had created between 162,809 and 192,410 jobs. This accounts for approximately 1.08% to 1.28% of employment in the country.

It is clear that Cultural Industries have made a significant contribution to economies worldwide and the aim is for CARICOM to further capitalise on this industry so its economies can get a well needed boost.

In an address to a recently held meeting of CARICOM’s Regional Cultural Committee, Barbados Minister of Culture, the Hon. Stephen Lashley, made reference to the aforementioned statistics, noting that the cultural industries hold the key to the urgent diversification of the Region’s economies. According to him, the Region did not need to look very far to see the huge economic benefit of this sector to the economies of other countries. He posited that it was now critical, given the challenges facing our economies, for there to be a refocusing of economic policies that result in deliberate action to divert financing from some traditional sectors to those cultural industries with potential to help solve some of the challenges.

Displaying the Region’s Creativity

But CARIFESTA XIII is not all about boosting the economies of the Region. The festival will also highlight the diversity of the CARICOM countries while showcasing their rich mutual cultural similarities and put on display the creativity of the Region.  There will be a range of events and activities to look forward to. The Rock Hall Living Museum, which takes place on SundayAugust 20, at the Rock Hall Freedom Village, St. Thomas, will be one of the free events which celebrates the establishment of the first free Barbadian village in 1841 after Emancipation. This activity will commemorate elements of African ancestry and the contribution of the former enslaved and their descendants. Additionally, there will be a Youth Village (August 18-26) at the Barbados Community College that incorporates dance, music, drama, workshops, tours and competitions for the children.

Other  activities include a symposium at the University of the West Indies, visual arts showcases at various galleries, concerts showcasing dance and music as well as the spoken word; and, of course, theatre highlighting the acting and production skills from across the Region. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the Kensington Oval. The closing ceremony will incorporate a super concert that will bring down the curtain on what is being dubbed the greatest celebration of Caribbean culture this summer.

In  summing it up, Dr. Brown says persons should make the effort to attend because “this CARIFESTA will feature outstanding or “signal” performances and events in dance, the visual and literary arts. There will be tributes to our greats like George Lamming, Sir Derek Walcott, and Kamau Brathwaite and acclaimed Haitian author Edwidge Danticat.I. The Youth Village has a packed programme for a wide age range of youth so there will be fun things to do for everyone.”

So there is indeed quite a lot to look forward to at this 13th staging of the Caribbean Festival of Arts.

 

 

 

 

Throw back to 2015!

 August 17, 2017 @ 9:26 am   
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CARICOM SG asks Sweden’s help on blacklisting issue

 August 17, 2017 @ 8:11 am   
Her Excellency Elisabeth Eklund and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque during the accreditation ceremony on Wednesday
Her Excellency Elisabeth Eklund and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque during the accreditation ceremony on Wednesday

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has urged Sweden to use its position in two major international organisations to highlight the unfair labelling of some of the Community’s Member States as “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”.

Speaking at the CARICOM Secretariat’s Turkeyen, Guyana headquarters during the accreditation ceremony of Sweden’s news Ambassador to the Community, the Secretary-General said, “as we seek to diversify our economies and build our services sector, some of our Member States, engaged in financial services, have been labelled as “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”. This is despite the fact that the countries in question are not so designated by the relevant global authorities, such as the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD Global Forum.”

“As a member of the EU and the OECD, Sweden can assist in encouraging these bodies to be guided by the informed position of the relevant global regulatory authorities and desist from their unnecessary seemingly punitive actions,” he added.

Please see more photos here

The Secretary-General called attention to the decision earlier this year by the European Union Council to screen some CARICOM Member States to determine whether they were co-operative tax jurisdictions using new criteria.

“The stated criteria go beyond the generally accepted international tax transparency and accountability standards which our countries have been meeting over the past several years,” he pointed out.

It was extremely onerous for small countries to address different international initiatives which dealt with the same, similar or related subject matter yet stipulated different sets of criteria, he observed. “There appears almost to be a predisposition to blacklisting our countries,” Ambassador LaRocque stated.

He said a major consequence of this blacklisting was the “de-risking” strategies being employed by certain international banks which had resulted in the withdrawal of crucial correspondent banking relationships.

“This particularly affects our indigenous banks and other financial services entities and could lead to the disconnection of our small economies from the global economy and international trade.  Its socio-economic impact would be disastrous, given that remittances which are the main source of income for many of our poorest citizens will be affected,” the Secretary-General said.

SG calls for new model for development finance

 August 16, 2017 @ 2:40 pm   
Her Excellency Elisabeth Eklund and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque during the accreditation ceremony on Wednesday
Her Excellency Elisabeth Eklund and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, during the accreditation ceremony on Wednesday

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) believes that a new model for development finance needs to be considered.

Speaking during the accreditation ceremony for the new Swedish Ambassador to the Community on Wednesday at the CARICOM Secretariat’s, Turkeyen, Guyana headquarters, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque stated that GDP per capita should not be the principal measurement used in determining the development status of a country.

“We will continue to advocate for the use of a more accurate and realistic measure of development which considers vulnerability, including exposure to natural disasters and other exogenous shocks,” he said. “In the interest of realising our economic aspirations as a Community, we believe that a new paradigm in development finance needs to be considered,” he added.

Her Excellency Elisabeth Eklund presented her credentials to the Secretary-General who noted that her accreditation was a continuation of years of building bilateral relations with the Member States of the Community and a bi-regional dialogue between CARICOM and the countries of the Nordic region. Sweden is one of the countries in the Nordic Group with which CARICOM has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Political Dialogue and Cooperation.

See more photos here

Ambassador LaRocque recalled two interactions between the Community’s Foreign Ministers and the Swedish Foreign Minister Her Excellency Margot Wallström which addressed issues of mutual interest including Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Oceans, Trade in Small Arms and Gender Equality. Some of these are reflected in the MOU.

The Secretary-General welcomed Sweden’s efforts as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to raise awareness in that forum of the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. This, he said was one of the priority areas of our Region and the Community looked forward to Sweden’s continued support for UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, which seeks to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.

He pointed out that “our countries are vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks compounded by the effects of climate change. Therefore, global agreements on sustainable development and climate change are of special significance for the Community.”

“Most of our Member States bear a heavy debt burden, brought on in large measure by reconstruction after major climatic events, in a Region designated as the “most natural disaster-prone in the world,” he added.

Ambassador Eklund stated that the UN was central to Sweden’s foreign policy and the UN’s Agenda 2030 was a top priority. She listed humanitarian actions, poverty reduction, sustainable development and Climate Change as areas of interest for her county.

 

 

Flashback to CARIFESTA XII – Haiti, 2015

 August 17, 2017 @ 9:41 am   

CARIFESTA XIII runs from the 17-27 August 2017 in Barbados.

In the build up to this edition of the festival, the CARICOM Secretariat has produced a throwback magazine from CARIFESTA XII, held in Haiti in August 2015. This magazine (see above) includes highlights from the various performances and cultural presentations from two years ago,  which  should wet the appetite for what is expected to be a great regional cultural showcase in Barbados.

The magazine can also be accessed via this link https://issuu.com/caricom/docs/caricom_view_-_carifesta_xii__haiti

 

About CARIFESTA

CARIFESTA has been the Caribbean Community’s premier art and culture festival since 1972. This roving event attracts artists and culture professionals from over 30 countries in the Region and has been held 12 times across eight Member States. The thirteenth staging of this mega cultural showcase will see performers, artists and a range of cultural ambassadors from the CARICOM Region converging in a medley of sounds and sights that are sure to capture the true essence of Regional Integration.

The main purpose of CARIFESTA, is to celebrate the arts and foster a vision of Caribbean unity while advancing Caribbean culture regionally and internationally. In its original design, the festival was to be held every four years, however it is now hosted every two years, with the responsibility for doing so traditionally being shared by the Caribbean Community, its Secretariat and the host country.

Barbados is hosting this event for the second time; the first being in 1981. Other Member States that have hosted this Community iconic event are: Guyana (1972, 2008), Jamaica (1976), Cuba (1979), Trinidad and Tobago (1992, 1995, 2006), St. Kitts and Nevis (2000), Suriname (2003, 2013) and Haiti (2015).