Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2013 Contents A20
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 14, 2013
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INVITATION TO MEETING
The Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta) is just
over a month away, but the representative bodies
for the performing arts still have no idea who will
be going to Suriname to represent T&T.
A source said more than 70 delegates were chosen
by the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism to par-
ticipate in Carifesta 2013 on August 16-25.
The festival, which was first held in Guyana in
1972, is a showcase of Caribbean art.
However, public relations officer of the National
Dance Association Alette Liz Williams said it was
frustrating that no consultation was ever held between
the ministry and official cultural organisations before
the delegates were chosen.
She said the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organ-
isation, National Drama Association (NDATT) and
the National Dance Association were not included
"It s a case similar to that of Jack Warner, where
they chose a candidate beforehand with no consul-
tation with stakeholders," Williams said.
She explained that the NDA contacted the Suriname
authorities earlier this year requesting permission to
participate, but they were told registration could only
be done via T&T s Ministry of Arts and Multicul-
On her Facebook page, Williams wrote, "I must
say I find it highly disrespectful that Carifesta is
coming up and most artistic bodies---I do not mean
the people who were chosen---I mean the representing
bodies for the performing arts, have no clue who the
final contingent of representatives are for our country
or that we are even going. It is why the best leave
and never come back!"
In a letter dated June 4, sent to the ministry s
director of culture Ingrid Ryan-Ruben, NDA s president
Emelda Lynch-Griffith requested permission from
the Government for the NDA Dance Corps to par-
ticipate in Carifesta.
In response, Ryan-Ruben said the ministry was
taking a new approach in selecting the delegation.
Ryan-Ruben, in response on June 28, said, "The
philosophy behind this approach is in tandem with
Carifesta s emphasis on innovation, economic devel-
opment, and youth empowerment. The focus is on
young, fresh and innovative works of art, and a track
record for artistic development."
She explained that the delegation would include
a mixture of national organisations, practising artists
and performing groups. She also encouraged
the NDA to continue acquiring relevant
funds to attend the festival but in a private
Former president of NDATT Louris Lee
Sing also accused the ministry of being
high-handed in its selection of Carifesta
delegates. She said, "Many groups feel dis-
enfranchised, but on the other hand, the
cultural organisations are very fragmented
She said the ministry officials who chose
the delegates had a skewed vision of theatre.
"They don t perceive the majority of theatre
practitioners as being legitimate," she added.
Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr
Lincoln Douglas could not be reached for
comment, as calls to his cellular phone went
unanswered. Minister of National Diversity
Clifton De Coteau did not respond to ques-
tions, saying he was attending a conference
Artistic groups cry disrespect
...over selection of Carifesta delegates
Director of culture in the Ministry of Arts
and Multiculturalism Ingrid Ryan-Ruben.
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