One of the strongest messages coming out of the recent cultural exchange with the twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago is as the saying goes, ‘there is power in unity and strength in numbers.’ As a region, our similarities outweigh our differences and stronger cultural alliances between Caribbean member states could create a more formidable force to be reckoned with in the international arena.
A Barbados delegation led by the Honourable Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth was in Trinidad & Tobago, along with officials from Grenada and China, at the invitation of the Minister of Arts & Multiculturalism, Dr. the Honourable Lincoln Douglas to promote the Barbados Crop Over Festival and to create more opportunities for increasing cultural ties.
There are a number of non-governmental relationships already developing between Trinidad and Barbados, demonstrated even throughout the recently concluded carnival season, where several Barbadian entertainers, musicians and promoters were working in Trinidad, performing, producing music and staging events. The Honourable Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth and his Trinidadian counterpart Dr. the Honourable Lincoln Douglas, Minister of Arts & Multiculturalism both agree this should continue to be sustained and encouraged as we strengthen our movement towards one region.
Some of the immediate areas of focus will include knowledge transfer opportunities. The Barbadian delegation had a chance to examine Trinidad’s artists’ registry and to carry out a comparative analysis of our own newly formed registry for artists that will guide our efforts to ensure that it functions at its optimum. That exchange also resulted in Barbados being invited to be included as part of several international artists’ registries of which Trinidad is presently a member. Barbados would be the only other Caribbean island to which this offer is currently extended.
While in Trinidad, The Honourable Stephen Lashley extended invitations to Minister Douglas; the Chairman of the National Carnival Commission, Mrs. Lorraine Pouchet and Chief Executive Officer of the National Carnival Commission, Mr. Michael Guyadeen to attend our Crop Over Festival in 2015. Invitations were also extended to the Junior Calypso Monarch, Calypso Monarch, Groovy Soca and Power Soca Monarchs to make guest performances at our Junior Monarch, Pic-O-De-Crop and Soca Royale competitions respectively; and to the Massy All Stars to perform at Pan Pun de Sand.
Through Dr. the Honourable Lincoln Douglas, Minister of Arts & Multiculturalism, Trinidad has also expressed a key interest in working with Barbados in the development of some of its technical skills in the production of Masquerade and Steel Pans with a series of workshops to be produced during Crop Over.