Fantastic response to TT’s Cultural Village
Friday, August 10 2012
THE EDITOR: Recently, in a letter to Newsday newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago an irate national unleashed some scathing remarks concerning the current Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Fest taking place at the Tricycle Theatre in London and, of the staff at the High Commission.
The letter writer, Miss Ward, poured scorn over the festival claiming “it is embarrassing to Trinis in the diaspora,” she also claims that the venue is in an “extremely run down area of London run.” While Miss Ward’s letter gathered momentum with those who expressed dissatisfaction with some aspects of the Village, the High Commissioner, His Excellency Garvin Nicholas wasted no time standing alongside his staff, defending their commitment to call of duty and, more importantly their passion and dedication towards the Cultural Village.
His Excellency in his response said ‘the launch of the Village occurred last week (25 July) and so far many people have been impressed by it. The Village was conceptualised to increase awareness of Trinidad and Tobago during the Olympic Games, currently underway.’ In many ways, I believe the High Commissioner did not do enough in his response to deflect the negativity painted by Nadia Ward in her letter to Newsday.
Having attended the Village myself, both as a volunteer and visitor and having had numerous dealings with members of staff at the High Commission in London, I can attest that this is not the case as Miss Ward displayed.
The Village is manned by a number of volunteers and also comprises members of the High Commission staff who ensure the smooth and courteous warmth of the Caribbean is felt when you enter the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London.
Miss Ward and others’ statements branding Kilburn as a run down, deprived area of London is highly offensive to the people of that community and, how quickly we have forgotten that the said Kilburn Theatre has been a launching pad for many Caribbean plays by Caribbean writers in the diaspora. I would not stand here and boast that the Tricycle is the best venue in the world. However, I am sure that the venue was chosen with some hindsight when committees sat and evaluated budgets etc.
All is not rosy with the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Fest, however, giving the magnitude of the event, there are sure to be teething problems and more importantly criticisms. What should come into play here is for the organisers to take away those criticisms and build upon it. Some comments and suggestions from the visiting public have been taken into account but core elements of such a concept should have been realised.
Putting Nadia Ward and all the little glitches aside, there has been a fantastic response to the Cultural Village with hundreds of people visiting each day and with sold out evening entertainment from top Trinidad and Tobago and artistes from the diaspora bringing that warm Caribbean breeze to the Tricycle. Fiona from West Hampstead Life wrote after visiting the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Fest. “We had a great evening, and on a wet squib of a summer evening, it was nice to find a slice of Caribbean sunshine on our doorstep.”