Culture is the link that binds the region together.
This assertion came from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in a written address delivered on his behalf by Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley at the opening ceremony of CARIFESTA XII in Haiti last Friday.
Mr. Lashley noted the important role culture played in the economic and social development of the Caribbean.
???Artists, artistes, artisans and other cultural practitioners are able to earn a living and contribute to the economy, through culture. In Barbados, like in many other countries of the Caribbean, the cultural sector plays an important part in our economic development.???
???Our Caribbean identity exists by virtue of the values, practices, conventions, and habits that we share; (it exists because of) our shared culture???CARIFESTA expresses both the striving for and articulation of our regional identity which, of necessity, can only be achieved collectively,??? he submitted.
He stressed the central role Haiti has played in the shaping of the Caribbean???s history, noting that ???Haiti occupies a special place???. The Culture Minister stated that because of its history of freedom fighting that dates as far back as 1803, Haiti stood as a ???beacon of Caribbean Identity.???