Machel Montano one of CARIFESTA XIV’s Brand Ambassadors
Machel Montano is one of the Brand Ambassadors for CARIFESTA XIV, which was launched in fine style on Tuesday night in Trinidad and Tobago.
The launch event happened in the Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre. It was a cultural explosion fitting for the commencement of preparations for what promises to be an epic Caribbean Festival showcasing talent from across the Caribbean Region.
There were a wealth of cultural performances that delved into soca, chutney, dance, spoken word and of course it would not be a cultural event in Trinidad and Tobago without a steel pan performance! This came from the National Steel Symphony Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago with Conductor Mr. Akua Leith.
The launch included a Welcome Statement from President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes. The Minister of Community Development, Culture and Arts, Dr. the Hon. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly brought remarks and officially launched CARIFESTA XIV. According to her, 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 remarked.
She also 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 Coroporate Communications at the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Arts, Rodelle Phillips-Simmons.
Assistant Secretary-General in Charge of Human and Social Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater, also made remarks at the event. Dr. Slater expressed appreciation to Trinidad and Tobago for its willingness to host CARIFESTA for the fourth time. He said he was confident that Trinidad and Tobago’s experience hosting several cultural events combined with support from the Interim Festival Directorate, the CARICOM Secretariat, 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 CARIFESTA should play as a catalyst for generating economic benefits for artists and the cultural economy of the Region must also be recognised.
Dr. Slater also 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 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 that 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. This event attracts artists and culture professionals from more than 30 countries in the Region and has been held 13 times across eight countries.