Worth the wait

The hearts of Caribbean people were beating as one last night during the official opening ceremony of CARIFESTA XIII at the cricket mecca, Kensington Oval.

DJ Puffy did a great job entertaining the crowd.
The spirit of the Caribbean was on full display.
Amber Orana performing with the choir directed by Marlon Legall.

The dance, music and cultural displays from 26 territories – from Guyana and Venezuela in the south to Bermuda in the north, along with a Diaspora contingent from Canada – saw them joining in musical harmony, proving that regional integration is still possible and very much alive.

The opening ceremony was highly anticipated and long awaited after being postponed from Friday due to the passage of Tropical Storm Harvey. It was worth the wait for the large audience that included Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, and CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, among many others.

Lashley said the display of countries during the parade from Queens Park to the Oval, which preceded the ceremony, was a reminder that we must work harder at regional integration.

“By our presence here this evening we must, as a proud Caribbean people, rededicate ourselves to the dream of our forefathers of a united Caribbean politically, economically and socially. The cultural passion invoked by the vision has been the bulwark against the various socio-economic threats that continually challenge the region in its call for the unity of our people,” he said.

“We have found the strength within ourselves to survive. Our cultural moorings were always our anchor of sanity and stability. CARIFESTA, therefore, remains the best opportunity for the region to respond to these threats, as it challenges us to look within ourselves and to our special traditions.”

During his speech, the Culture Minister also announced two new cultural ambassadors to the country – soca queen Alison Hinds and ten-time calypso monarch Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire.

He also revealed that Cabinet had recently formalized the conferment of the title of cultural ambassador on international superstar Rihanna and also renewed the conferment of the cultural ambassador title on Anthony Gabby Carter.

Lashley said the formalities to deliver their instruments of appointment would shortly be put in place.

Performing at the opening ceremony were SistazSparkle T, and Aziza, who all sang songs themed around regional unity.

Following them were performance from Gabby and many spectacular performances which highlighted the various cultures.

The event culminated with Red Bull Thre3style champion DJ Puffy whipping the crowd into frenzy.

He had attendees dancing for about 45 minutes to a variety of local and regional songs. When his set came to an end, they wanted more, but he encouraged them to go out to the many events that will be held over the next week.

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