#Georgetown, July 07, 2018 – Guyana – The Twenty-Sixth Regional Cultural Committee (RCC) Meeting convened in Georgetown, Guyana on June 25, 2018 where Directors of Culture throughout the Caribbean were in attendance. Representing the Turks and Caicos Islands Culture Department was Director of Culture, Ludwina Fulford.
One of the primary objectives of the two-day session was to discuss areas such as Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA), Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery, Leveraging CARICOM’s Cultural Assets, Animation and Financing Culture. Additionally, all Directors were given an opportunity to provide an update on the various cultural activities taking place within their respective countries. Representatives from the host country for the upcoming CARIFESTA were in attendance and provided an update on the progress being made to host next year’s event.
Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA) has been a catalyst for the strengthening of regional amalgamation among our Caribbean countries, artisans and cultural practitioners, for more than four decades. Over the years, Caribbean nations have enthusiastically participated in the festival and used it as a catalyst to promote the arts and culture of their country. The festival has over the years been an avenue for Caribbean artisans to show case their history, skills and talents both regionally and internationally.
The 2019 festival will be hosted in Trinidad and Tobago from August 16 – 26 and will showcase a multi-talented cultural display in the visual and literary arts, storytelling, fashion, body art, craft, theatre, dance, music, film and new media from participating countries within the region in an enabling environment. It is anticipated that a delegation from the Turks and Caicos Islands will participate in CARIFESTA 2019.
The meeting also called for the sharing of information across the Region and the need for countries to be proactive in their pursuit of cultural and economic sustainability. It was acknowledged, however, that countries are often hampered in their undertakings by limited resources and lack of support for the creative industry. It was noted too that it is critical for countries “to proceed with urgency to decide on the region’s priorities and develop policy models across the Caribbean.” Countries were encouraged to inculcate in their people that culture and cultural industries are businesses, not merely social entertainment and as such should be treated accordingly.
Commenting on the sessions, Director Fulford said; “It’s always a wonderful, enlightening and enriching opportunity when Heads of Departments of Culture throughout the Region gather to proclaim and/or reinforce our visions for our respective Departments, share our initiatives, discuss policies, challenges and successes, and devise strategies for overcoming any obstacles we face, which, more often than not, are very similar in nature, across the Region. We left the meeting renewed, charged and committed to implement best practices, and further formulate initiatives that would bring greater awareness to, and foster deeper appreciation for our cultural heritage. In addition, I am extremely pleased that the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Culture has recently held a session in collaboration with OCTA Innovation in Providenciales. This was a timely undertaking as it was geared primarily towards understanding the needs of our artisans and bettering the relationship with them, and it formed a part of the discussions during the RCC.”
Presentations were made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Caribbean Export and Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), all of whom provided information on ways in which they can further assist in the development of various programmes and the provision of financial support for cultural initiatives.
Dialogue has already begun between the Department of Culture and Mr. Yuri Peshkov, Programme Specialist for Culture Cluster Office for the Caribbean, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for additional technical assistance with fine tuning the Turks and Caicos Islands National Cultural Policy document and additional programmes that the Department wishes to embark upon.