The Government of Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday announced that following consultations with the Guyana based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, CARIFESTA XV, has been postponed until 2022.
In a statement, the government said that CARIFESTA XV, that was scheduled for August 12-22, 2021 will now be staged August 11-21,2022.
“The postponement of the festival comes in the wake of the continued challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its prolonged devastating impact not only on the economy of Antigua and Barbuda but also on the entire Caribbean Community.”
The announcement was made the Minister of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, Daryll Matthew, during a virtual meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee and the interim Festival Directorate of CARICOM.
In doing so, the Minister “reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to hosting CARIFESTA XV” adding that “as a platform for our region to showcase to the world the unrivaled prowess of our people and to demonstrate to the world our capacity for innovation and creativity, I have been having discussions with our international partners, our cultural stakeholders, our management team and the Chairman of the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne, as they relate to the CARIFESTA XV and the potential challenges to hosting the event. The recommendation coming out of these discussions was as heart-breaking as it was unanimous,” said Matthew.
For his part, the Assistant Secretary-General at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater, expressed support for the decision made by the Antigua and Barbuda Government and expressed hope that at the end of the pandemic, the region will emerge stronger and better.
He also advised that CARIFESTA XV in 2022, must be used as a “moment for the reimagine and re-engaging of our collective progress and destiny which are among the goals of CARIFESTA.”