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Wednesday 9th February 2011

Good Afternoon:

First let me thank you the members of the media for your attendance here this afternoon as we give you an insight into how the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture plans to move forward towards our 2011 Carnival celebrations.

Permit me at this time however to congratulate the performing choir Sanctuary for two remarkable performances during their recent tour of the British Virgin Islands.  This group of professional young men and women demonstrated what it means to be committed to a cause.  They represented Antigua and Barbuda well.

I must also wish the reigning soca monarch Tian Winter, a member of the group Sanctuary, best of luck in the BMobile International Soca Monarch Competition on March 4th in Trinidad.  Our best wishes also go out to Ricardo Drue who is a semi-finalist in the ‘Play Whe International Soca Monarch Competition’ coming up on Sunday 13th February at the Arima Stadium in Trinidad.

While we extend best wishes to those two artists we also express our regret that reigning Groovy Soca Queen Claudette Peters will not be taking part in the upcoming semi-finals competition on Sunday.

We have officially written to the organizers of the International Soca Monarch Competition in Trinidad to seek clarification on why Claudette Peters was not permitted to enter the Semi-Finals Competition as announced during our Soca Monarch competition last year by a principle of Caribbean Prestige Foundation, organizers of the International Soca Monarch Competition in Trinidad.

It is my hope that a clarification of the situation will lead to closer cooperation between Caribbean Prestige Foundation and the Carnival Development Committee in the interest of providing an international stage for our local artistes.

As we look towards fully implementing the plans for this year’s celebrations, I am fully aware that we have not met all of our obligations to those individuals who provided service during Carnival 2010.  It is my intention to vigorously pursue all avenues in ensuring that monies are paid in the coming months.  I therefore ask for patience and understanding at this time.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

My portfolio as the Minister with immediate responsibility for Carnival is intrinsically linked to the preservation and development of our culture and by extension our Carnival celebrations.

It is my belief that our music, our cricket, two important facets of our culture; the education of our people and financial support are of vital importance in ensuring that our uniqueness as a people remains for generations to come.
As Antiguans and Barbudans we are a people with African, Indian, Middle Eastern and European ancestry; the cultures of our ancestors are all unique.  The question is; how can we as a people ensure that our diverse cultures play a critical role in us remaining a culturally aware people and most importantly how our uniqueness can contribute to economic growth and development.
I think it would be fitting at this point for me to officially commend those members of the business community who throughout the years have supported culture and more so our carnival.  
At the same time while I thank our benefactors for sticking with us through these challenging economic times, I must implore those who are skeptical about making contributions to come on board and support Carnival 2011.
I am also sensitive to the fact that many members of the business community are concerned about getting value for money.  It is also a concern of mine as the minister responsible for Carnival.  I will not be fooled into believing that any business establishment that makes a contribution to carnival or any other festival is not concerned about getting their fair share and more in promotions.
We have recognized the importance of giving value for money to our sponsors and also our responsibility to prevent ambush marketing by competitors of our benefactors, that a special Sponsorship and Marketing team will be a part of this years CDC.
Of course there are also concerns about the product itself.  You may ask, is it worth putting scarce resources into a particular aspect of carnival when that event has shown a decline in standards over the years?  
With that in mind, the 2011 Carnival Development Committee which is being considered by the Cabinet, will comprise of men and women dedicated to the advancement of the festival.  The new CDC will be comprised of individuals with a wealth of experience in the festivities and a number of young vibrant professionals who are familiar with business management and development.
The 2011 CDC will first and foremost be charged with making Antigua’s Carnival once again the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival – which I might add is the branding we will be pursuing for the festivities.
The CDC will also work at developing a product that will attract members of the business community, attract more patrons and attract the highest caliber of participants.
It is also my hope that the new CDC and sub-committee chairpersons and their teams will work at transforming the festival and foster greater relations with the private sector.
The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda has advised that the New CDC will be in place as of next week.
I wish to say a special thank you to those members of the business community who have made sizeable investments via the various private fetes leading up to Carnival.
The white fetes, power rumbles, red eyes, jam corners, wet fetes and the like have been shown to ignite the spirit of carnival in the community and made significant contributions to stimulating the economy during what we have come to know as the slow economic season.
I urge other businesses to get on board for carnival 2011 and organize fetes across the length and breathe of our nation.  It is through these efforts that we will be able to stimulate the economy and generate increase spending which are vital to us surviving this global recession.
Special commendation must also go to Mr. Yousef Michael of Joe Mikes for the organizing and hosting of Jam Corner as part of the pre-carnival activities.  We look forward to working with Yousef and his team once again this year. Also, we look forward to working with Dave Lester Payne and others in organizing calypso and Soca Tents for our calypsonians. Let us all work in the interest of preserving our culture and developing our carnival festivities.  I look forward to the support of you the members of the media and the general public as we celebrate Antigua’s 2011 Carnival – the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival.
Thank you very much.


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NAME: Mr Richard Henry
TEL: +1 268 562 1675/1680
FAX: +1 268 562 - 1681
ADDRESS: Office of the Minister of State: Sports and Recreation, Boys Training School and National School Meals Cassada Gardens St. John's
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