The experts responsible for advising technical officers and Ministers on the hosting of CARIFESTA are currently meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.The 27th Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee (RCC) began on Wednesday with an opening ceremony at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre in Port-of-Spain, and would continue until today.Preparations for CARIFESTA XIV, which is being held in Trinidad and Tobago August 16-25, 2019, will be a major agenda item. Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyam Gadsby Dolly, gave the feature address at the opening.Caricom Secretariat Culture and Community Development Programme Manager, Dr Hillary Brown, and RCC Chairman, St Kitts and Nevis Director of Culture, Troy Mills, also spoke at the opening. Director of Culture, Trinidad and Tobago, Tej Ramlogan gave a welcome statement.Minister Gadsby Dolly, in her remarks, used the opportunity to remind the audience of the economic value of culture in the Region. She said Trinidad and Tobago was currently experiencing rigid fiscal constraints, and the innovation and sheer volume of creative entrepreneurs emerging from that situation was extraordinary.The RCC with Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Community Development and the Arts, Dr Nyam Gadsby Dolly (centre)“In our country, there has been a significant increase in the number of local markets for craft artisans, artistes and culinary entrepreneurs throughout the past three years, with an active push towards environmentally sustainable business practices – green practices,” Dr Dolly saidShe said further that Trinidad and Tobago intended to market the Region’s various cultures to the world by bringing buyers to the Festival, creating spaces for discourse and platforms for developing the various art forms on display. According to her, this CARIFESTA was not about Trinidad and Tobago, as the country was simply the host of another stage in CARIFESTA’s growth and positioning as a festival to rival some of the world’s leading festivals.“The success of CARIFESTA XIV will be the success of the Caribbean Region, and we in Trinidad and Tobago are determined to deliver this to you,” she said.In her speech at the opening, Dr Brown said that the Caricom Secretariat was very pleased with the pace of the preparations and the achievements to date by the Host Country Management Committee in relation to marketing and promoting CARIFESTA and developing the conceptual map and logistical arrangements for the Festival.These, she said, included an innovative new element introduced by Trinidad and Tobago of involving major artistes such as Machel Montano, The Voice and others as Brand Ambassadors for CARIFESTA. She also commended the host country for negotiating an excellent line-up for the “Island Beats” Super Concert well ahead of the Festival.“We are all looking forward to experiencing a really fantastic CARIFESTA, and please be assured Minister, that we are all here to provide our full support to the Host Country Management team, so ably led by Ms Susan Shurland, to ensure that CARIFESTA XIV will be both successful and memorable.”The RCC will also be discussing additional matters at this sitting, including creative industry development and a Draft Regional Development Strategy for the Cultural Industries in Caricom developed in 2012. The Cultural and Entertainment Services Strategy for CARIFORUM, completed in 2017, will be reviewed and discussed. Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery and the use of cultural development in the Region’s strategy to reduce poverty and achieve inclusive and equitable sustainable development, will also be featured on the meeting’s agenda.The RCC first met in June 1987 in Trinidad and Tobago.