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Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 25 November 1977 | Release Ref #: 97/1997 | 1644

    The newly appointed Board of Directors of the CARICOM Foundation for Art and Culture held its inaugural meeting at the Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica on November 17, 1997.

    The Directors, who were appointed by the CARICOM Secretary General for a period of three years are: Ms Patricia Bishop, Trinidad and Tobago; Dr Christopher Blackwell, Jamaica; Mr. Roy Cayetano, Belize; Dr Howard Fergus, Montserrat, Mr. Carlos Hee Houng, Trinidad and Tobago; Professor Rex Nettleford, Jamaica and Ms Cynthia Wilson, Barbados.

    The Agreement to establish the Foundation, open for signature in 1994, is so far signed by 10 of the 15 Member States. Suriname and Haiti, who were not Members of CARICOM in 1994, are to deposit Instruments of Accession.

    The stated general objective of the Foundation is "to foster and promote the employment of and production of works in, the arts, humanities and social sciences".

    An important element of this objective is the selection of eminent regional artists and scholars for awards and the advancement of research and study in art and culture.

    Funding was identified as vital for the success of the work of the Foundation and the Caribbean Community Governments through their financial commitments are expected to provide the funds for launching the Foundation and its operations. Support for its sustainability would be sought from private sources and from activities of the Foundation itself.

    At this, its first meeting, the Board sketched a framework for the establishment of the Foundation's Secretariat, the appointment of an Executive Director, and the formulation of a programme of activities leading up to a formal launching of the Foundation in the first half of 1998.

    In the Inter-governmental Agreement for the establishment of the Foundation, Montserrat is designated as the host country. However given current problems, consequent upon a continuing volcanic eruption, Barbados offered to host the Secretariat in the interim. The Culture Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat would continue to play a nuturing role in the formative period, but the Foundation is expected to function as an autonomous entity in the shortest possible time.

    One of the first decisions of the Board was to establish a pool of resource persons whose skills and capabilities would assist it in achieving its goal of "filling a critical gap in the artistic and cultural landscape of the Caribbean".

    Prior to the Business Session, the Honourable Burchell Whiteman, the Jamaican Minister of Education and Culture spoke briefly on behalf of CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development. He emphasised the critical role of Art and Culture in personal, national and regional development, and the need to pursue excellence always in these endeavours.