As promised, Guyana’s delegation for CARIFESTA XIV dazzled and amazed onlookers as they marched in the ‘Parade of Nations’ heading into the Queen’s Park Savannah, in the Twin-Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, in their colourful and diverse glory.
Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton said this was the aim, as the team was preparing to commandeer the parade moments before.
“We [Guyana] hoped that we can create an impression representing who we are and the six races that we always speak about… We are using this opportunity to show the rest of the Caribbean and the world who we are,” he said.
Led by Minister Norton, Permanent Secretary, Melissa Tucker and Director of Culture, Tamika Boatswain, Guyana’s contingent sang folk songs and performed ring dances as they dipped, swayed and twirled their way to the Savannah.
Jamaica had the largest delegation with a whopping 265 members strong in dance and visual arts. Delegations from Guadeloupe and Canada also joined the festival.
The nations were welcomed by President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Christine Kangaloo, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, sport and other government officials and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Prime Minister Rowley commended the organisers of the festival noting that the event showcased the region’s food, music, art and also their indomitable Caribbean spirit. He noted that while the region is comprised of several sovereign states, work is underway to “create a nation under a single market economy.”
“One day… we will be identified as people of the Caribbean who have come into this region from all parts of the world but living together in harmony, prospering and probably enjoying the best location of the globe,” Prime Minister Rowley said.
Minister Gadsby-Dolly told the contingents that the Twin-Island Republic has been working assiduously for the past two years to ensure the festival kicked off without any hiccups by strategically positioning the region’s cultural identity.
“We have spent the last two years trying to narrate this unique Caribbean story using the best writing instruments available over this festival… from the Chamberlin Bridge in Barbados to Haiti’s striking monument to Guyana’s Stabroek Market, the streets of the Caribbean, our building heritage and presenting it in one concentrated space to represents the manifestation of our collected genius,” she said.
Considered the brainchild of the late President Linden Forbes Burnham, CARIFESTA was conceived out of an appeal from a regional gathering of artists who were at the time participating in a Writers and Artists Convention in Georgetown, Guyana in 1970. The festival highlights the diversity of the CARICOM countries while showcasing their rich mutual cultural similarities and the creativity of the region. (Department of Public Information)