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Kambon receives balance of $4 million grant
Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas presented chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) Khafra Kambon with a cheque for $2 million at the opening of the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Friday night.
The presentation, greeted with loud cheers from the audience, represented the balance of a $4 million grant from the Government to the organisation to stage the 20th edition of celebrations in observance of Emancipation, with the theme Forever Forward: Reflection, Resistance, Renewal.
The opening function marked the 174th anniversary of the end of chattel slavery. During his address, in which he asserted the Government’s commitment to providing funding for festivals, Douglas announced in dramatic fashion that he had in his possession the $2 million balance owed the ESC, and requested that Kambon come onstage to collect it.
“Culture is the most critical thing we have as a people,” he said, adding that the People’s Partnership Government was “building a culture where everyone could feel at home, regardless of race, gender, religion, class, location or political affiliation, as it respects the works of all our creative people.”
The programme, MC’d by Dara Healy and Wendell Etienne, opened 20 minutes after the scheduled 8 pm start with the national anthem played on pan and sung by Arielle Noel and Demika Guevara, respectively, after which a libation was offered by Iya Amoye, assisted by members of the San Fernando School of the Arts, Sport and Culture, and Diego Martin Footprints.
Also addressing the gathering was Everald Snaggs, chairman of Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), a long-time supporter of the ESC, which, he said, had donated $.5 million to stage this year’s Emancipation celebrations.
Providing entertainment were veteran pannist Earl Brooks, the Wasafoli Dance Troupe, and former national calypso monarch and Road March champion David Rudder. Brooks’ set was a five-song repertoire, including three of his own compositions, and was executed with passion and precision on the tenor pan, while Wasafoli’s contribution was a high-energy display of the frenetic dancing and skilful drumming that have become the hallmark of the group, whose name translates as “happy players.”
On completing his set, calls for “one more” had Rudder coming back onstage after entertaining audience members, most of whom had abandoned their seats and gathered in front of the stage for his performance. Opening with the appropriate 1990—the occasion being the 22nd anniversary of the attempted coup—Rudder had patrons dancing throughout, and he was ably backed by the band Wayne Bruno and the Rapid Response Band.
Activities at the village continue with all-day performances and nightly concerts until Emancipation Day.
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