The current Maroon and Festival Committee are discovering that a challenge has been placed at their feet.
While declaring the festival officially opened on Friday, Minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs Elvin Nimrod, said “while we have come a long way there is still some distance to travel before arriving at close to perfection.”
Applauding the committee for its outstanding work to bring the festival to its present level, Minister Nimrod said that a festival of that nature, which is fully, endowed in the fabric of all Carriacouians and Petite Martinqiuians demands “the holistic support of all if it is to arrive at its desired destination.” The Minister added that while the committee must be recognised for a more than super human effort, it is imperative for everyone to step forward to play his or her role in the continued sustenance and evolution of this unique experience.
However, he said that the festival has climbed to greater heights from just being one of “helping and having fun “into an institution with an enormous reach on the cultural and economic landscape.
“I believe that the time has come when we have to enhance this product” said Nimrod. “We have to move one step further”.
The Minister added “If we don’t have the proper governing structure I’m certain we cannot do much for too long”.
On the backdrop of this he spoke of a bill recently tabled in parliament to bring all of the islands’ festivals together.
“Once all of these festivals come together they would all bring better benefits” said Nimrod, the Deputy Prime Minister.
Minister for Tourism, Hon Yolande Bain-Horsford also applauded the efforts of the committee. She said that it’s not only the economic benefits, the comradery and unity of the exercise but also the showcasing of such an important cultural event, which has a deep tourism value attached to its significance and expansion.
Culture Minister, Brenda Hood, noted her pleasure that a festival of such a nature is being celebrated at a time when the country is observing Heritage Month. Senator Hood noted that the significance of the Maroon Festival is the showcasing of the islands’ cultural heritage and ancestors. She hinted that very soon the Government and Grenada Tourism Authority would work closely to ensure that the Belair Heritage Village becomes the cultural centre of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.