National Carnival Commission
Parade of Bands Route 2015
Saturday 28th June, 2014
Queen’s Park Savannah
DR. THE HONOURABLE H. LINCOLN DOUGLAS
Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism
- Ms. Allison Demas – Chairman of the National Carnival Commission and
- Other Members of the Board of Directors
- Mr Michael Guyadeen-Chief Executive Officer of the National Carnival Commission
- All Carnival Stakeholders
- Members of the Media
- Ladies and Gentlemen
I am really pleased that so many have gathered here today with a common goal. I see several of our major contributors of Carnival gathered in this space, united and eager to participate in this public consultation.
While it may seem that this process is aimed at ensuring that we have an extremely successful Carnival 2015, the objective is much more substantial.
We are here to collaborate and form a blueprint for the refinement of a major cultural export and one of our most significant income generators – the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. This is the only way that we can substantiate our claim to having the greatest show on earth.
The discussions today could form the basis of radical changes in a tradition that has existed long before any of us. Or, it may validate and reinforce the methods currently used.
We must all therefore, listen carefully, speak clearly and think openly.
Carnival has grown and developed over the years because of the input of a range of individuals and groups. Change is ever present but mutual respect is mandatory to ensure that change has the most long-term, positive impact.
Therefore, I call on all of you to render contributions in a manner that will provide an enabling environment for the exchange of ideas.
We are aware that Carnival is a partnership between government, the stakeholders and the people. This consultation is purposely being held at this early stage. Great attention will be given to your opinions and experiences which are of utmost importance to the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, as well as the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
Carnival is very significant for us because, not only is it a noteworthy revenue generator for our economy, but it is one of the elements that defines our national identity.
The government of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism for Carnival 2014 invested approximately two hundred and eighty-nine million dollars. Indeed, your perspectives today should be focused on ensuring that citizens receive a positive return on thier annual investment.
Thus, we must find the optium approach,…… the key,…… the blueprint to maximise the benefits of Carnival.
Carnival is a positive force that can attract income to other areas of the economy, shape the environment for economic regeneration, drive exports and fly the flag of Trinidad and Tobago internationally.
The Greatest Show on Earth
Throughout the region, and in fact in many parts of the world, we in Trinidad and Tobago are viewed as the experts on carnival.
Trinidad and Tobago style carnivals have mushroomed all over the world, developed and managed by persons that learnt their craft in the mas camps, pan yards and calypso tents right here.
I have recently returned from Zimbabwe and South Africa where the power of the Trinidad and Tobago carnival was so evident you could feel the energy, the impact and potentially substantial demand for our cultural products abroad.
So you see, today’s discussions can lead to a major step in the right direction. Our attitudes must reflect that we understand this important task that we are undertaking, and the honourable opportunity we have to add value to our culture.
In conclusion, I emphasise that today’s proceedings must be collaborative and focused on finding the best solution to truly presenting the greatest show on earth.
As the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism I am of the firm view that in order to achieve greatness we must ensure that we are brave enough to move forward and try new approaches, but at the same time ensure that the essence of our traditions is respected. Economics and social perspectives must be given equal consideration.
As we proceed, please remember that today is not simply about a congestion-free Parade of the Bands for Carnival Monday and Tuesday 2015. It is about taking Trinidad and Tobago art and culture further.
I thank you.