Culture Director announces retirement for 2021

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Vaughn Walter will leave his post as the Director of Culture, come December of 2021.

“At that point in time,” announced Walter, “I would have walked into the sunset of my retirement.”

Walter has spent the past 20 years, while working under three different administrations in the cultural arena. From 1999 he served as the Coordinator of Carnival and subsequently the Chairman of Carnival. He was then made Director of Culture in 2009 and serves in that post to present.

This past May, Walter was seconded to be the Director of Carifesta 2021 as Antigua and Barbuda will be hosting the roving biennial-festival. In an effort to have him give his full attention to this new task, Annette Aflak has since been named the Acting Director of Culture in May with renowned pannist Khan Cordice as Deputy Director.

Walter said the transition from his old post to new was “rather smooth”.

“This is something that the Honourable Minister [Daryll Matthew] had discussions prior to this taking place … We even had several discussions about how we were going to go about doing it. We even had discussions as to who would be acting in my absence down at Culture.”

Despite the sad proclamation made yesterday morning, however, Walter let it be known that, “Vaughn Walter will never [truly] retire. My services are all for my country and I will always be there.”

Meanwhile, plans for CARIFESTA XV to be held in August 2021, “supersede that of Trinidad”, the director said.

Trinidad spent just over ECD $17 million on their staging of the event this year.

“I want the inclusion of everyone. I want people to understand that this is the single largest [event] … this is history-making in Antigua and Barbuda.”

A grand market, music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts, literary arts fashion and food showcases, community festivals and tours, a youth village and many more events and activities are scheduled over the course of the festival.

Walter said that he hopes to lure the likes of internationally acclaimed Rihanna to possibly headline the Super Concert – the signature event of CARIFESTA.

Antigua and Barbuda’s historical sites will be used as a massive backdrop for the upcoming festival.

“We’re going to have niche or signal events,” he added.

“We’re planning to have these in historical sites like… Nelson’s Dockyard… Recreation Grounds will be a niche event because of its history in sports… Ffyres Beach… Fort James.”

The Festival targets participation and patronage from CARICOM and non-CARICOM countries of the Caribbean, Latin America, and Diaspora.

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