‘Mottley’s CARIFESTA comment a disgrace’

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley has rushed to the defence of Barbados’ efforts at hosting the recently concluded 13th Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII), calling this weekend’s scathing criticisms of the festival by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley a “national disgrace”.

Addressing the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) St Michael South branch at the weekend, Mottley said the event was a fiasco, pointing to low turnout and poor organization, which left her feeling “ashamed for the country and people”.

The BLP leader also suggested that infighting among the ranks of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had led to some of Lashley’s Cabinet colleagues seeking to sabotage the prestigious regional cultural affair.

“So CARIFIASCO instead of being a bounty for the artists of this country, instead of being an inspiration to others as it should have been – and we have seen some expressions of excellence from the people of the Caribbean – this was a boycott of Stephen Lashley,” Mottley contended.

However, firing back this afternoon during a press conference at the Ministry of Culture’s head office at Haggatt Hall, St Michael, Lashley said Mottley’s criticism was a condemnation of the hundreds of participants and volunteers.

He also charged that the remarks were potentially harmful to the country’s chances of being considered for similar events if the future.

“Mottley in my view is totally off base and I believe that CARIFESTA needed to be defended. We have had the CARICOM [Caribbean Community] Assistant Secretary General speaking about CARIFESTA in very positive terms regarding what Barbados has achieved. I believe that may have been difficult for the Leader of the Opposition to swallow, particularly seeing that we are just a few months away from an election,” Lashley said, suggesting that Mottley was trying to score political points at the country’s expense.

“I describe Miss Mottley’s comments as being a national disgrace because they really don’t have any place within what the context of CARIFESTA did. I feel very proud of the performance of organizers in very difficult circumstances because they were affected by difficult circumstances such as the storm [Tropical Storm Harvey], which caused us to have to recalibrate our programming . . . . I hope that in quiet reflection Miss Mottley would regret her words and she should apologize,” Lashley further argued, pointing to perceived shortcomings of the 1981 CARIFESTA, which was hosted in Barbados under a BLP administration.

“In 1981 the [Barbados] Defence Force had to be called in to stop a disaster under the Barbados Labour Party. I don’t know if the leader [of the BLP] would have felt ashamed of being a Barbadian then. At that time over $25 million was spent on that event and it had to be rescued. Nobody had to rescue CARIFESTA XIII in 2017. It was executed by highly skilled individuals,” he added.

The minister said that the high number of positive experiences at CARIFESTA XIII would eclipse Mottley’s comments and for the most part they would be brushed aside as political grandstanding.

26 Responses to ‘Mottley’s CARIFESTA comment a disgrace’

  1. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams August 29, 2017 at 3:15 am

    Thank you Mia

  2. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall August 29, 2017 at 5:07 am


  3. Debbie A.Leon
    Debbie A.Leon August 29, 2017 at 6:23 am

    The truth really hurts huh? Remember firstly you all as a government disgrace our country by the way in which you operate and the way in which you are treating the people who voted you in. Go back to the drawing board and accept that it needed work and not only Ms. Motley made such a comment even some of the overseas delegates

  4. E Jerome Davis
    E Jerome Davis August 29, 2017 at 6:37 am

    He has rushed to his own defence.

  5. Shanika Roberts Odle
    Shanika Roberts Odle August 29, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Everyone thinks it was a disgrace and a waste of public funds in a rough economy.

  6. Ferreira Claude
    Ferreira Claude August 29, 2017 at 7:07 am

    As long as we keep denying the truth we won’t see our mistakes….. a failure is a failure maybe we can learn from it.

  7. Stephan Blackett August 29, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I’ve been to the events. The participants tried their best.

    The organization, logistics and marketing of the event? Poor!!!!!!

    Ms. Mottley is 1000000% correct!

    Shame on you Lashley. Shame.

    • Belfast August 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      You mean that we did not learn anything from the previous fiasco held here in 1981, when the BDF had to step in and manage the logistics.

  8. Alleyne Heath
    Alleyne Heath August 29, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Great Job……kudos to your team.

  9. DE August 29, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Mr. Lashley, I realize that you have finally taken the same pill that your colleagues are taking. You have to live up to the reality.
    Hosting Carifesta after crop over was always bad decision and a lack of foresight. Even the exhibitors in interviews, admitted that the events was poorly attended.
    I would like the Prime Minister, Mr. Lashley and all those who want to take shame off their face by saying that Carifesta was a success, to identify where they have succeeded, apart from wasting more money.
    The government spent a lot of money on Carifesta, was hoping to make a profit by charging a fee for the entrance at the gate for events and because of the lack of patrons attending the events they had to withdraw entrance fee to attract patrons. That also was a failure because those who went did nor even patronize the exhibitor. The exhibitors themselves admitted that.
    The one question I was asking all along. Was it that our intelligent government let the other Caribbean govenments trick them into hosting Carifesta or the usual, painting a pretty picture about our downhill economy.

  10. Miguel Griffith
    Miguel Griffith August 29, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Every thing is a waste of tax payers money!The government do something for cultural and social development, its a waste. Ya ask the government to do something, ya turn around and call it a waste.
    One thing ya can’t do it please ungrateful people.
    I hope if the Labour Party is successful that gold start raining and we have no waste of tax payers money.

  11. Carol Grant Cumberbatch
    Carol Grant Cumberbatch August 29, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Waste of money.

  12. Stell Alleyne
    Stell Alleyne August 29, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Mr. Lashley you need not bow your head in shame. ..any failure is directed to us all (Caribbean project not Barbados) we the ppl should be shame if indeed it was a failure. …and indeed not all saw it as a failure…its a pity however that the host country have such gullible ppl with sick mentality who seems to think that it is the government who should be ashamed, thinking that the ppl of this country is excluded from any disgrace…at the end of the day the Barbadian ppl who decided to boycott any attempt to anything to promote this country are the ones who should be ashame. .. the ppl who claims they love the country and the ppl…but every opportunity to pull it down so they can laugh/ scorn…..SHAMELESS PPL!

  13. BaJan boy August 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Instead of trying to defend your poor management of the event you should listen to a woman who knows and learn. At least that is your last mass anyway. From inception all of the delegates were complaining bitterly about the poor execution of what ever plan there was. They couldn’t get accreditation,couldn’t find space, we’re not listed, come on Lashley we thought you were better than this. We cannot swallow this huge success pill after such horrible complaints. Ms. Mottley is absolutely correct we as bajans who are supposedly so intelligent should be ashamed.
    You and your party focused on a few DLP supporters to run this event and luckily most of them are more intelligent than you and your cabinet colleagues. It was a disgrace and nothing less. On Friday we went to look for lunch at some of the other countries and couldn’t even find a decent meal. Come on man we are not stupid and you can fool some of the people some of the times but u cannot fool all of the people all the time.

  14. Alex Mitchell
    Alex Mitchell August 29, 2017 at 9:35 am

    13 the number of crooks, as the event to boost the Island numbers before elections,As did not work in 2007 games at the Oval,BLP still lost in 2008 as will the DLP in 2018.

  15. Angela August 29, 2017 at 9:59 am

    This is what we are good at, bare criticism, non of the naysayers could have done it better, I am sure. The Finale, though you had to pay was attend by many. Everything has to be seen from a political point of view even the celebration of our people’s cultures and talents. I am sad for us!

  16. Kevin August 29, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I went to many events throughout the week, mostly dance, music and folk/cultural presentations of the other islands which I really wanted to see. I would like to thank all those involved from the Caricom committee back down to the government for bringing Carifesta to Barbados. I wish it went on for another week. Yes, in some of the events the number of people attending was low, which improved later down during the week, however you cant make people go if they aren’t interested. Many of my friends and all of my coworkers knew of the events, but they didn’t go because they felt it will be ‘too boring’ or they weren’t just interested in what was being offered. It was marketed and promoted, with ads all over the tv, radio, newspaper and social media. I did not go to any Crop-Over events this year because I wasn’t interested and no amount of promotion or marketing would have made me go to any. And as usual many of the people crying down the Carifesta, for e.g on the call-in programs and I bet on here, did not even go to one event. Once again to all those involved, thank you, I appreciated it.

  17. Kathy August 29, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Nothing is ever done perfectly, but the planning of this Caribbean festival was not only left to the locals it was a coordinated by a Caribbean Carifesta Team. However, if you are going to criticize something, let it be constructive criticism. Don’t just do so to be heard. I enjoyed the carifesta events that I went to. Well done minister and organizing committee.

  18. Patty August 29, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Politics, politics, politics…everything must be about politics. There is always room for improvement in everything, but we are so anti-government now that everything they are involved in we will criticise. Stop allowing ourselves to be used by politicians who want a one party state. This is our country, You don’t go about criticising your family because everything at home is not perfect. People open your eyes and see the signs of dictatorship and crast political opportunism

  19. Patty August 29, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Seems to me people were encouraged to boycott the events to make the government look bad. What goes around, comes around

  20. Wendy Knight
    Wendy Knight August 29, 2017 at 11:06 am

    But Mr.Minister you said not to blame you or the Govt. Was there something to be blamed for? First to yourself be true and then you can be true to the people of Bdos. Dismal failure!

  21. Helicopter(8P) August 29, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Remember the gospel tune “Someone is Sinking Today” ? Well when politics gets too heavily involved in the arts and crafts there is no room left for creativity and self expression in the arts.

  22. Tony Waterman August 29, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    @DE!!!! Holy Cow don’t you understand how Carifesta Works, it is like the Olympics, it goes from Country to Country, no on Tricked anyone into holding Carifesta, Did you not see Minister Lashley hand over the Thingy to the T&T Representative ?? that means that T&T will be holding Carifesta Next Year. And coming right after Cropover has NOTHING to do with it, they all knew a Year ago that it was coming, and it would be right after Cropover, it comes down to the Ministry of Culture/Government just did a Piss Poor Job of Organising the Festival.
    @Cathy, good for you for attending some of the Events, and for enjoying them, but how many events were unsuccessful ??, i saw where some Countries Refused to perform to a romm full of empty Chairs, that was in the News with Photos, Bermuda Comes to Mind.
    @Patty!!!! What NONSENSE, the reason is quite evident, the people have NO MONEY left after what they had to spend for Cropover, the Ministry/Minister, should a year ago talked to the Stakeholders and had the Date Moved away from so close to Cropover to give Prospective Patrons a chance to put away some Money for Carifesta.

    @Angela!!!! it will NEVER change unless WE Change the way Politics is done in Barbados. I am going to say it again, BAN POLITICAL PARTIES, and elect Parliamentarians by Island wide Voting to move Barbados FORWARD, this Westminister WHITE SLAVE type Government was put in place to do just what it is doing 50 Years after we are supposed to be INDEPENDENT of our SLAVE MASTERS, and that is MOVE us FORWARD in UNISON and UNITY, but allit is still doing is keeping us BACK and DEVIDED. If my system was in Place, ALL Politicians would have been focused in the Same direction, “How to make it Succeed” not hanging around like Wolves around a Carcass waiting to Eat.

    The way i see it is the Way Lee Quan Lee, and Errol Walton Barrow saw it, so here is an URL that will let you Rewad Errol Walton Barrow’s “Mirror Image Speech of 13th May 1986, pay special attention to Paragraphs 22-27. whilst on the subject of that mentioned Country, you can research Gun Crimes there also.


  23. DE August 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Patty, you are so right. What goes around, comes around.
    The government is squeezing the people’s balls and now the people have the opportunity to squeeze the government balls.

  24. mervin Kellman September 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

    i waited with bated breath to hear how this Minister would respond to the view of most Barbadians, the visiting artiste as well as those who traveled to watch the event;that Carifesta XIII was an abject organisational failure. In typical DLP style he sought firstly to absolve himself of any responsibility for the shortcomings in the planning of the spectacle and seems to be suggesting that hurricane Harvey did more damage to Carifesta than it did in Houston,Texas. Further,he follows the now well known DLP defensive maneuver of attacking anyone who dares to point out their leadership deficiencies. The glaring truth Mr. Minister is that in spite of the best efforts of the performers Carifesta XIII was NOT well managed, it was NOT well attended and it was NOT a success.


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