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Region's cultural showpiece must be sustained despite economic crisis, says CARICOM deputy
Published on June 19, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- CARIFESTA must be sustained despite current economic challenges.

That was the main message from CARICOM deputy secretary general, Manorma Soeknandan, to delegates at the opening ceremony for the 22nd meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee (RCC) at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on Wednesday.

CARIFESTA – the Caribbean Festival of the Arts, which was first staged in 1972 -- showcases the cultural talents of the region and continues to be the pre-eminent showpiece of its kind. The last edition was held in 2013 in Suriname and the next is scheduled for 2015 in Haiti.

Soeknandan noted that members states are increasingly recognising the value and developmental potential of the creative and cultural industries in the CARICOM region. She urged the RCC to be steadfast with their proposals so member states and the Community can continue to benefit.

Soeknandan also said the meeting would review the implementation status of the regional development strategy for the cultural industries in CARICOM and provide advice on how more vibrant, productive sectors can be developed across member states.

The deputy secretary general also used the opportunity to extend congratulations to winner of the CARICOM Song Competition Michele Henderson from Dominica, as well as the second and third place winners -- Adiel Thomas from Jamaica and Carmella Lawrence from St Kitts and Nevis. She also indicated that the winning song would be launched on July 1 during the opening ceremony for the 35th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Antigua and Barbuda.

In her remarks, programme manager for culture and community development, Dr Hillary Brown, said the two most current issues on the Regional Cultural Committee’s agenda, were reparations for native genocide and slavery and the CARICOM Song Competition.

She said they were “committed to the ideals of the founders of this Forum, where we see culture as central and pivotal in building stable, cohesive societies based on respect for our cultural and ethnic diversity, and where we see culture as the foundation on which we build our regional cooperation and identity.”

The three-day meeting is expected to conclude on Friday.
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