ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Grenada and neighbouring twin island republic Trinidad and Tobago have committed to work together to cross barriers and bridge cultures.
That was the central theme at Friday’s media launch of Spicemas 2013 in Trinidad.
The media launch took place aboard the Paria Bullet at the Water Taxi Terminal in Trinidad’s capital Port-of-Spain.
The ferry will operate during the Carnival peak of Friday August 9 to Wednesday 14, bringing as many as 300 Trinidadians for Grenada’s biggest cultural festival.
The charter has been arranged by IMG Entertainment Co Ltd, Summer Crew Inc and Flava the Mas in collaboration with the National Infrastructure Development Co (NIDCO).
Appealing to the visitor’s sense of adventure, Grenada’s Tourism Minister Alexandria Otway-Noel described this country as the original Caribbean… safe, welcoming, and bursting with everything that is present in a tropical paradise.
In the past ten years, more than 50% of total CARICOM visitors came from Trinidad and Tobago, 56% stayed in homes of relatives and friends and 37% stayed in hotels and guest houses.
The tourism minister said the global economic recession resulted in a decline in visitor arrivals, coupled with the high cost of air travel, but gave her government’s commitment to turning that trend around.
She added that Carnival 2013 will be an unforgettable experience, and one that will provide the opportunity.
“Grenada’s Carnival is a must see,” said Otway-Noel.
“An intimate affair which combines new friends, mouth watering cuisine, creative music, great fetes and lots of fun; together with magnificent beaches for the ‘cool down.’”
The tourism minister added that Grenada’s Carnival is authentic and distinctly Caribbean, where one can get excellent value for money.
“Because it falls in mid-August, it’s the last real opportunity within the Caribbean for a fantastic summer jump up. We’re a mixture of traditional, fancy and contemporary bands produce a spectacle of creativity,” the minister said.
Notable, she said, is Grenada’s jouvert, which has carved a niche for itself.
“Masqueraders in mud, body paint and the famous old oil, playfully haunt the streets of Grenada on Carnival Monday. Other indigenous aspects of our Spicemas such as the Shortknee, Viecoux and Wild Indian, along with contemporary Monday Night Mas and Fancy Mas, play their part in giving our Carnival its special character,” she said.
Trinidad’s Minister of Transport Chandresh Sharma promised that his government will work closely with Grenada so that the country can experience the rewards it seeks.
“We will have to work out the process, we will have to work out the package,” he said.
The water taxi service is enormously subsidised by the Trinidad and Tobago government, but Sharma said, since it’s a trade element in the exchange and development of culture, his government will do what it can to assist in moving the process forward.
He made reference to the Mighty Sparrow, who has contributed not just to Trinidad and Tobago but to the global art form and could see this partnership going further and further.
He said the proposed use of the ferry service is a workable one.
“We’ll have to meet again sometime and work out the details which I’m sure we’ll put our technical people to work closely with you,” the Trinidad transport minister said.
The launch of Spicemas 2013 in Trinidad and Tobago was guided by the theme: Crossing Barriers and Bridging Cultures.
Ingrid Ishmael, communications manager of the National Infrastructure Development Company, one of the three partners in the charter service, had a successful inaugural fast ferry service to Grenada last year.
She said, they would again partner in offering water taxi/ferry service to Grenada for Spicemas 2013 from Friday August 9 to Wednesday August 14, taking with it 300 visitors to the Grenadian shores.
She added that partnerships like these contribute to the growth and development of the economy and further build new relationships and partners in business.
“There’s a niche market or persons who would like to experience the various cultures within the region, and so the water taxi service is one way of bridging this gap and further provides travel with a sense of comfort and well being with a high level customer care guaranteed,” she said.
Also addressing the launch was Robert ‘Bobby’ Steele of Summer Crew Inc.
He said his vision is to expand the cultural ties between both countries for the upcoming carnival season.
Steele boasts of the talents of Grenadian soca artistes Tallpree and Brother B.
Tallpree is known on the international soca stage while Brother B is a Hollywood nominated artiste.
“This is our Caribbean taking it to the world! You have Machel, we have these guys and many more as you have many more,” Steele said.
“We want to have one Carnival different destinations.”