Across town, members of the Belize Association, Guyanese Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Association will throw a party at the St. Cecelia’s Activity Center to round out the Dec. 31 celebrations. Those familiar only with the Jamaican and Bob Marley aspects of Caribbean culture will be in for a treat, as the rest of the diaspora will be celebrated. The Central American country Belize has a majority Afro-Caribbean population and a sizable constituency here in metro Detroit. For the event, the Belizean musical group New Dynamics Band will perform a rich blend of Afro-Latin-Caribbean music (merengue, cumbia, salsa, calypso, soca, roots rock) and unique punta, the national music of Belize. Explanations are limited on what punta really is, so the curious will have to show up to experience this taste of Belize. Trinidadian DJs WD, who are based in Detroit, will spin lots of soca music, and there will be plenty of Caribbean food, plus an open bar.
Roland Bood, president of the Belize Association, is excited to see aspects of the three countries represented in Detroit on one night. “We’re trying to ring in the New Year the way it’s traditionally celebrated in the three countries, because New Year’s is very big back home,” Bood says. “It’s a gala time so we know that plenty of Guyanese people will be there, as well as people from Trinidad and Belize. But we also want Detroiters to come and experience a Caribbean New Year.”
Although tickets are $35 per person, for as much Afro-Latin culture and Caribbean cuisine that’s included with the price, it shouldn’t be hard for patrons to come out feeling both enriched and liquored up — plenty of rum punch, a Caribbean favorite, will be flowing.