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Innovation is alive and well at CARIFESTA XI

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)  Two of the most innovative aspects of CARIFESTA were declared open on Monday in Paramaribo, Suriname with the Caribbean Market Place for the Arts and the Youth Village.

President of Suriname, His Excellency Desire Bouterse, First Lady Ingrid Bouterse and Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, left their vehicles behind and led a group of bicycle riders into the Youth Village at CARIFESTA XI symbolising the environmentally friendly theme of the Village. In his statement declaring the Village open, President Bouterse stated he was “especially proud that our youth decided to incorporate an environmental vision for the set-up of this village.”

The President, who is CARICOM Lead head of Government for Community Development and Culture (including Gender, Youth and Sport), informed his audience that had instructed the organisers of CARIFESTA with a special mission a year ago: “make sure that our youth is involved at all levels during CARIFESTA XI.” That mission had been accomplished with close to one thousand young people trained and participating actively in the festival, according to the President.

The idea for a green village had been put forward by the youth and President Bouterse noted that it was humbling to see that the young people were not waiting passively but demonstrating actively their vision for the future.

Earlier in the morning Secretary-General LaRocque, had declared open the historic Caribbean Market Place for the Arts. The Marketplace is intended to bring artists and international promoters and booking agents together to network and develop business partnerships. The exchanges over the four days of the Marketplace, the Secretary-General said, “will ensure that that we continue to carve and secure our space in the global market place and create pathways for new and emerging artists to realise their dreams and make us proud.”

The Secretary-General noted that while CARIFESTA was an important cultural space to celebrate and enjoy ‘amazing’ performances, it was also an event that had the potential to serve as a catalyst for creative and cultural industry development in the Community. “The CARICOM Secretariat is therefore committed to assisting Member States in creating the enabling environment to support the development of artists and the sector,” he added.

The Marketplace has been supported by the United Nations Development Programme, Caribbean Export, the Government of Suriname and the German Society of International Co-operation (GIZ).

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