Suriname to host Carifesta XI in 2013

Suriname will host the 11th staging of the Caribbean Festival of Creative Arts (Carifesta) come 2013.

According to a press release from the Caricom Secretariat, the announcement was made by Dr Hilary Brown, Caricom’s Programme Manager for Culture and Community Development, at the opening of the 21st Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee (RCC), held at the Courtyard Marriott in Paramaribo, Suriname on December 1. The release said Brown explained that the RCC would discuss with Suriname, plans for Carifesta XI, beginning with logistic and promotional arrangements.

“The Caribbean Community welcomes the offer of the Government of Suriname to host Carifesta XI in 2013 and we are all looking forward to the event with great anticipation,” Brown said, while noting that Caricom was at a “crossroads in the development of this highly valued regional exposé of Caribbean arts and culture”.

The future of Carifesta has been uncertain since Guyana hosted, by default, Carifesta X in 2008, after the Bahamas expressed an inability to do so, the release pointed out. It was then noted that although this is Suriname’s second time hosting, Carifesta XI will be hosted in accordance with the new model prescribed in the festival’s strategic plan developed by the RCC in 2004.

Brown noted that the new and improved Carifesta sought to address several weaknesses in the management and promotion of the event, and to “ensure that it was a more dynamic, economically viable festival that met the expectations of regional and international audiences”. She also explained that the new approach to Carifesta would provide more opportunities for professional and artistic development for the region’s artists. She said too that it would also create a permanent management structure for the Festival and develop new income streams from its intellectual property value through better branding and merchandising of the event.

Since 2006, starting with Trinidad and Tobago which hosted the festival’s 9th celebration, attempts have been made to phase in critical elements of the new model, the release pointed out.

Meanwhile, during the two-day RCC meeting also reviewed the draft regional development strategy and action plan for the cultural industries in the region, which was finalized by the Regional Task Force on Cultural Industries that preceded the RCC.
The release said that the Task Force, which was co-chaired by Jamaica and St Lucia, was in set up in 2008 in response to a mandate from the Joint Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (Coted) and the Council for Human and Social Development (Cohsod), to facilitate the development of a comprehensive regional development strategy and action plan for the region’s cultural industries.

Brown related to the gathering that the strategy was “innovative and cutting-edge… with the objectives of growing the regional creative economy by building more globally competitive cultural industries; creating an enabling environment to improve the competitiveness and productivity of the sector; and positioning the region as a cultural Mecca and preferred investment location, while preserving and projecting our cultural diversity, our national and regional identities on the global stage.”

Also on the agenda for the RCC is making proposals for the strategy’s advancement and implementation at the highest level of the community. The release noted that the report and recommendations of the task force will also be discussed and acted upon by Cohsod and Coted as well as by the Council for Finance and Planning.

Also on the table were other trade related matters such as the implementation of the culture provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement; the free movement of artists in the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the ongoing negotiations for a Caricom-Canada Trade and Development Agreement. In addition to this, the release stated, the meeting explored issues of cultural diversity and cultural heritage, as well as relations with a number of regional and international partners.

The RCC was established by Caricom to advise ministers of culture on issues including cultural heritage, culture and trade, culture and the economy, and cultural policy, the release said.

It has established itself over the past 22 years as a valuable and regional forum where directors of culture meet, deliberate and propose harmonized or coordinated approaches to cultural development initiatives in the context of CSME.

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