CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque yesterday praised the Government for getting Carifesta XIV off to a good start. LaRocque expressed his views to Newsday when he visited the Carifesta grand market at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
While visitors to Carifesta marvelled at its splendour, LaRocque said many people do not know it takes “a good two years of planning to do something like this.” He added that it some other countries “it takes even longer.”
With over 22 countries participating in Carifesta XIV, LaRocque explained it can be a challenge to get them to register, ship all their equipment on time and complete other logistical details. But in the case of TT’s organisation of the festival, La Rocque said, “I think it’s a fantastic effort that is showing fantastic results.”
While Carifesta opened last Thursday, LaRocque said it “it seems like a long time already.” He thought the opening ceremony was grand and welcomed the concepts of streets of the Caribbean.
“I think the whole artistic concept lends itself to show us unification of our region,” LaRocque said.
As he walked through the market, LaRocque observed that some participants were still setting up their booths. But even at day three, LaRocque said the grand market and other venues gives “a sufficient flavour of what is happening.”
He added, “We have captured the flavour. We’ve captured the culture of our community, of the Caribbean in a good way.”
Having been to several Carifestas in the past, LaRocque said he has seen improvements at each one. In the case of Carifesta XIV, he said ,”What I see here, I am satisfied.”
A post mortem will be done at the end of the festival, LaRocque added. Despite the inclement weather, a large number of people came to visit the grand market yesterday.
The market was constructed to reflect the infrastructure of several Caribbean territories, starting with the Chamberlain Bridge of Barbados. This was the gateway to the market. Visitors could then take a detour through classic houses found in Havana, Cuba. Once inside, they could view art, craft and food displays from several Caribbean countries such as Guyana, Grenada. Guadeloupe and St Lucia.
In the Caribbean food park, visitors had a menu of Caribbean cuisine to satisfy their taste buds. Miss Trim with traditional Tobago food, Haitian creole seafood, the Montanos Chocolate Factory and Naomi Martino’s Cacaos and Chocolats De Guadeloupe. Martino told Newsday this was her first participation in Carifesta.
She was eager to interact with visitors and potential clients who may be interested in her various cocoa and chocolate products. Occupying the same booth with Martino was chef Jimmy Bibrac who offered samples of French creole food from his Restaurant Gastronomique Creole.
Caribbean Airlines also had a makeshift plane which gave visitors the opportunity to experience the destinations it flies to. Carifesta XIV continues today with several events at different in Port of Spain and San Fernando. These include Best Village Theatre at the National Academy of Performing Arts and Country Night at the Savannah. The latter provides an opportunity for visitors to be exposed to the music from different countries.