Carifesta is still on, Culture Minister says

Sports Minister and Minister of National Festivals, Culture and the Arts, Daryll Matthew.
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By Carlena Knight

Plans for the twin islands’ hosting of Carifesta XV next year are in full swing.

This was confirmed by Minister of National Festivals, Culture and the Arts, Daryll Matthew who was a guest on Thursday morning on the Good Morning JoJo sports show.

Matthew said that it is in fact too early to make any decisions to cancel the regional event.

“Well, we had a meeting with Caricom, a formal meeting virtually in the last week of July or the first week in August and that was the discussion that was had. We are still planning for a Carifesta in Antigua and Barbuda.

“It is in fact, all this time next year God’s willing we will be in the midst of Carifesta. It’s just about exactly a year away and so we believe that it is too early to start looking at a ‘no Carifesta’ scenario. We believe that there is still time but of course if we start getting to February, March and things do not look like they are improving, we will have to make a decision one way or the other,” Matthew said.

He indicated that the government will continue to monitor the situation and the capability of the other islands to participate.

“That decision may not only be based on the health standpoint because at that time, globally, we may have contained the spread of the Covid-19 virus through whatever means, but the financial repercussions are going to be long lasting and so we still need to look around that time and see ‘are we able to afford a Carifesta; are the participants or the countries that are sending delegations to Carifesta will they be able to afford to send a delegation?’.

“These are all the scenarios that we are looking at but we believe for Carifesta itself it is still early for that decision to be made or for any decision along those lines to be made,” Matthew said.

Carifesta is slated to take place in Antigua and Barbuda from August 6 to 15 2021.

Regarding the Independence celebrations for this year, Matthew revealed that it is highly unlikely that it will follow its usual format.

“The Independence celebrations we discussed earlier are currently being revised and revamped to reflect what we are going through right now, so things like the ceremonial parade, the food fair, all these things are now being revisited given that we will be under a state of emergency until October 31.”

Although he didn’t go into details about the proposed plans, Matthew had previously suggested that a virtual calypso competition could be added to the Independence lineup as an alternative to the annual Calypso Monarch competition which, along with Carnival 2020, was scrapped due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

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