Trinidad and Tobago – a rich mélange of cultures: Minister Douglas

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Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas addressing a thematic debate on Culture and Development. [UN Photo/Evan Schneider]

Development encompasses the social and spiritual behaviors that define nations' way of life. Thus, culture is the key component of sustainable development.

That's what Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas told a thematic debate on Culture and Development this week at the United Nations, saying that Trinidad and Tobago was a rich melange of cultures that had resulted in a unique cultural dynamism.

“This cultural diversity contributes substantially in the form of exports of cultural goods and services in song, dance, artistry, design, sport and several other forms of creative expression. For example, apart from the invention and development of the steel pan as the only orchestral instrument created in the 20th century, Trinidad and Tobago remains proud of the fact that one of its eminent sons – Mr. Peter Minshall, a visionary artist and designer, was invited to design and choreograph the opening ceremony of the 26th Summer Olympics for 1996 held in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a show of human civilization anchored in culture and artistry that reflected the characters and themes of Caribbean folklore and traditional cultural expressions. Further international recognition of Trinidad and Tobago's prowess in culture and masquerade is evidenced by the fact that Mr. Brian Mc Farlane has accepted the invitation of the Olympic Committee of Brazil to organize and choreograph the opening ceremony of the World Cup 2014.”

According to Minister Lincoln Douglas, in Trinidad and Tobago, in recognition of the fundamental link between culture and development, a number of initiatives have been undertaken with the aim of further developing the sectors related to the arts and culture. He said in an effort to give greater voice to the diverse cultural expressions of our common desires for individual and national identity.

“The thrust of the policy is to create an enabling environment in which various forms of expression of culture flourish side by side and contribute holistically to national identity and development. An important aspect of the policy framework is the implementation of ensuring the application of cultural policy at all levels of government, national and local, on a non-discriminatory basis, through emending and/or nullifying laws and regulations which might have such an effect. It is also regarded as an instrument of good governance to facilitate superior management of and greater transparency in State operations in the Culture sector.”

Noting the difficulty of ensuring international markets for cultural products and creating the necessary infrastructure, Minister of Culture Lincoln Douglas said the cultural industry was able to engage the most people at the lowest cost for the highest returns.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 2’47″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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