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The 8th Annual African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference held in Barbados from September 17–19, has been deemed a resounding success.
The initiative, which had its origins in a cultural heritage tourism initiative developed by the Bermuda Ministry of Tourism in 2001, is executed under the leadership of the ADHT Bermuda Foundation, with the primary focus of establishing African Diaspora Heritage Trails that re-link African Diaspora traditions in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Canada, North and South America.
The conference which was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this week under the theme, “Our Heritage, Our Identity: Uncover, Recover, Discover”, sought to bring a renewed focus to the rich histories of the African Diaspora; provide fresh insights to attracting the ever-expanding cultural heritage tourism market and provide developmental opportunities for a network of collaborators committed to identifying, building, promoting and marketing cultural heritage tourism destinations. This 8th ADHT conference also provided a forum for the people of the African Diaspora to deliberate and ventilate on issues and concerns that are pertinent to uncovering the past, recovering lost memories, discovering African identities and ultimately, the harmonisation of these views Tourism Minister Richard Sealy, in sharing his views on the outcomes of the ADHT conference, suggested that it has not only been successful in terms of its aims and objectives, but in establishing a number of key linkages that could prove beneficial in the future.
“I think it’s been successful. Certainly the presentations, the ones that I have seen and the reports I’ve received, suggest they’ve been top quality. I think we have assembled a host of thinkers and lecturers here that are highly regarded and the participants certainly would have felt that it was a worthwhile exercise. I sincerely hope that it could develop a number of things for us,” he told The Barbados Advocate on the final day of the conference, yesterday.
“All in all, I think it was a success and that we benefited from several different perspectives, so I am very satisfied with what I have seen,” he reiterated.
The minister’s comments came after a rousing presentation by Dr. Hollis Liverpool, familiarly known as calypsonian Chalkdust, which started the discussions for yesterday’s session. Dr. Liverpool, who has carried out extensive research in all areas of culture pertaining to the Caribbean in general and in his homeland Trinidad and Tobago in particular, spoke about his 300 plus calypsoes, which he refers to as academic papers. He also sought to analyse a number of other calypsoes and their value and contribution to the people living in the Caribbean in his presentation entitled “Road Marches of the Caribbean”.
The presentation sough to show the role of Carnival road marches over the years in the lives of the people in the Caribbean generally. With examples drawn mainly from the road marches of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Liverpool sought to show how masqueraders in the Carnivals used the road marches in their attempts to discuss everyday happenings and to capture a piece of history. The road marches, he said, could be classified under four headings namely: Male/Female Relationships; Smut; Commentary and Entertainment.
Meanwhile, Dr. Liverpool stressed that each and every calypso tells a story and records a piece of history and should be valued on this basis.