The city of Port-of-Spain has been designated a UNESCO City of Music, Port-of-Spain mayor Joel Martinez announced yesterday.
In attendance at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, was Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and a small group of pan players, bandleaders, calypsonians and drummers.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network was formed in 2004 across seven creative fields—music, film, literature, gastronomy, media arts, design and craft and folk (art)—and has a membership of 246 cities.
There are five cities in the Caribbean—Bahamas, Jacmel, Havana, San Domingo and Kingston with Port-of-Spain registering as the sixth.
The initiative was started by Carla Foderingham, former chief executive officer of the Film Company of T&T.
In making the announcement, Martinez said the Port-of-Spain four-year plan to action has been aligned with UNESCO Creative Cities Network’s mission.
“If we want to progress as a people and country our capital city cannot remain the same,” Martinez told the attendees.
Martinez said the director-general of UNESCO decided to designate Port-of-Spain as a member of the creative cities network in the field of music.
“Almost every festival or cultural activity that passes through the streets of the city has some sort of musical accompaniment.”
He said the scope of the initiatives within Port-of-Spain’s four-year plan are both national and international which would have benefits for many.
The music zones seek to establish locations within Port-of-Spain to promote music heritage as a driver for sustainable urban development.
The intention is to provide year-round opportunities for artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, residents, nationals, visitors and the community to experience T&T’s music and creativity.
“We are looking at ways to maximise our cultural potential and our creative city of music designation does just that,” Martinez said.
In thanking Foderingham and her team for their outstanding work, Gadsby-Dolly said the work of civil society to build a country is extremely important.
“Too often it is all thrown on the backs of a government or ministry,” she said.
Gadsby-Dolly said the designation comes on the heels of a successful 2019 Carifesta held in T&T.
“When one looks at the diversity that we were able to portray to the region they were in awe with things that were normal for us.
When we look at that, then it is clear that we really deserve this designation and it really to say to the rest of the world what we always knew that we are a powerful city,” the minister said.
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali