Caribbean Literature

Delegates to the conference had come from the four corners of the world to debate and discuss Caribbean Literature for the three-day Conference honouring the late Rex Nettleford of Jamaica and Earl Lovelace, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize and congratulating the Trinidadian writer on his 75th birthday.

The Conference was held jointly with Morehouse College and UWI. Speaking at the opening ceremony Mr Ernest Little, President of the Tourism Development Company outlined the goal of the conference as a forum for global understanding, promotion and discussion of the (Caribbean) region’s culture and literature.

Professor Funso Aiyejina, Dean of Humanities and Education, UWI stressed that writing is international, that the reader shared emotions with the writer – wherever either happened to be. Further, he congratulated guest of honour Earl Lovelace on his latest book, published that very day. He outlined the literary tours planned for delegates to St James and the “House for Mr Biswas” the Lion House in Chaguanas, Michael Anthony’s residence and the ancestral home of Earl Lovelace in Toco.

The highlight of the formal part of the proceedings came with Monserratan Chad Cumberbatch reading his very lively poetry – including a piece on Trinidad Carnival that, he confessed, he has yet to experience.

Greetings from Dr Melvin Rahming of Morehouse College included a salute to the vibrant, complex culture of Trinidad and thanks to the Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau for sponsorship of the Conference.

Speaking on behalf of Tourism Minister Rupert Griffith who was attending constituents suffering the effects of a feeder band of Tomas, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Melba Dedier remarked that this is the first conference that the 15-month-old Conventions Bureau had won for TT.

She said the conference would boost Trinidad’s reputation as a premier Caribbean destination for international meetings and conferences, that conference tourism is the main aim of the Convention Bureau.

She pointed out that one of the objectives of the conference on Caribbean literature was to afford emerging writers an opportunity to take part, to meet and discuss Caribbean literature with delegates from overseas.

Chantal Ross-Francois, head of the Trinidad and Tobago Convention Bureau concluded the formal part of the proceedings by thanking all who contributed to the success of the conference.

Before the refreshments Shari Rhymer of the Metamorphosis Dance Company performed her interpretation in modern dance of the Celtic folk song “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair” Finally the Shiv Shakti dancers brought a hint of Divali to the opening ceremony with their performance of two Indian dances.


"Caribbean Literature"

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