It may still be more than a year away but plans are in full swing for next year’s hosting of one of the Caribbean’s greatest cultural festivals.
Organisers of Carifesta – being staged in Antigua and Barbuda in August 2022 – have put out a call for hundreds of volunteers to lend a hand.
It will be the first time the twin island nation has hosted the festival which was due to be staged here this summer but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Held under the theme, ‘one Caribbean, one environment, diverse cultures’, it is set to attract more than 2,500 delegates from across the region, diaspora and Latin America.
Its success, however, is reliant on an efficient and professional team of volunteers, Annette Aflak, Director of Carifesta XV, said.
“We will need a lot more than the Carifesta Secretariat staff to be able to execute this big event … so we are asking volunteers from the highest rank to schoolchildren to come out and help us,” she told Observer at yesterday’s official rollout of the volunteer programme held at Government House.
“We need persons in administration, liaison officers, persons to accompany our delegates all over the place; we need everybody in Antigua and Barbuda to join the programme,” Aflak added.
The event already has two high profile helpers with Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams pledging to take part.
The first two registered volunteers were also unveiled to the public.
Regis Burton is the co-founder of Nolan Hue, an organisation created to focus on the professional development of local youngsters. His community work saw him awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2016.
“When you look at what Carifesta means to us as Caribbean people, it is a real big gap to be filled,” Burton told Observer. “And I just think by volunteering I’m doing my small part and I hope I can encourage other people to do a small part, so collectively we can make a big impact.”
Social media influencer Lauvin Phillip shares her philanthropic views and contributions through her digital space, which spans more than 7,000 people. She also mentors young women and advocates for the personal and professional development of young people.
“I wanted to show it was OK to come out in your community, and give help and meet new people that will help you to get places,” Phillip said.
Carifesta initially needs 200 volunteers and official registration opens on Monday. Organisers hope to garner enough interest to form a volunteer corps to assist with future events such as Carnival and Independence celebrations.
Everyone aged 16 and over is encouraged to sign up. Positions include VIP and protocol, hospitality, media, administration, delegation liaison, technical, and meet and greet, among others.
Application forms are available at the Carifesta XV Secretariat on Old Parham Road, upstairs
KFC. Interested people can also email [email protected], visit www.carifesta.net or call 562-9605/06 for more information.