Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds presenting the award to Sargeant Reginald Blackman for his contribution to the Holetown Festival over the years.
The 42nd staging of the Holetown Festival has begun.
It got under way yesterday with an opening ceremony at the Holetown Monument in St. James, which was attended by locals and visitors to the island, as well as reigning Queen of the Festival Sheryl Knight and Festival Ambassador, Damien “Hypasounds” Etienne, along with Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds and Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports, John King.
Addressing the ceremony, the Tourism Minister commended the Festival Committee for the longevity of the annual event. He said that his ministry wants to “elevate this Festival to the next level”. Therefore, they place themselves at the disposal of the organising committee and stand ready to work with them.
“It is time, I think, that the Festival benefits from the technical expertise of Barbados Tourism Product Authority, which is staffed by professional product people for tourism. It is time, I believe, that the Festival also benefits as best we can in difficult financial circumstances from some of the financial assistance of the state, so that we lift it to the next level. You have been tested and tried and placed in the balances and you have not been found wanting. Forty years is a long time and you cannot be allowed to fail.”
Symmonds also told the gathering that the Tourism Ministry “is placing at the forefront of its activities a freshness and a rejuvenation of the Holetown visitor experience”. He stated that work in this regard will be led by Dr. Kerry Hall.
“Dr. Kerry Hall, who is the Director of Tourism Development in the Ministry of Tourism, has been tasked with the responsibility of chairing a committee, which will oversee this process of rejuvenating Holetown as a visitor experience. Dr. Hall will therefore be reaching out to you on the Festival Committee to hold hands with you as part of the process of bringing you on board in the refreshment of the Festival Experience.”
Symmonds additionally gave the assurance that “in this year that is designated across the Caribbean as the ‘Caribbean Year Of Festivals’,” the Tourism Ministry understands “the pulse and the importance of the festivals across this island and we are determined to refresh them, rejuvenate them and make them bigger and brighter than ever before”.