The Gaston Browne administration in Antigua and Barbuda announced on Oct. 8 that, after consultations with the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) XV has been postponed until 2022.
The administration said that CARIFESTA XV, which was scheduled for Aug. 12-22, 2021, will now take place from Aug. 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,” said Antigua and Barbuda 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.
Matthew “reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to hosting CARIFESTA XV”, stating 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,” he said.
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, according to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
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,” according to CMC.