Belize is being represented to the fullest in the 2013 CARIFESTA in Paramaribo, Suriname.  Despite being the smallest delegation; the jewel is showcasing Belize at its best in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, literary arts, fashion and jewelry. The participants in creative arts have been performing at various venues throughout the ten-day event. The contingent has also been participating in several workshops promoting crafts and jewelry, as well as clothing by Belizean designers both on display and for sale at the Grand Central Market. Belize has a strong presence in Suriname and will leave behind a lasting impression on those attending the event. News Five spoke today with Theatre Director of the Institute of Creative Arts, Karen Vernon, who is with the contingent in Suriname. Vernon says that while the cultural event is held every four years, the international exposure has revealed that Belize’s standards in the arts are parallel to the rest of the Caribbean.

Via Phone: Karen Vernon, Theatre Director, ICA

Karen Vernon

“Belize has been having very good reception. In fact one of our shows, not last night, the night before; the audience stood up and shout we want more, we want more. Everybody was excited that the drummers and the dancers had to come out and do an impromptu performance right there because the audience couldn’t get enough of Belize. So much so that we’ve been invited to perform in the closing ceremony which takes place on Sunday. So they have selected countries being selected to participate so we have a meeting tomorrow to discuss exactly what they want to see Belize in for the closing ceremony. So as I said, we are very much received; we are popular wherever we go; the reception is good so we have no complaints about that.  It is very important for the Caribbean, Central America, South America because it gives each country a chance to showcase and share what we have to offer. And it is not to these countries; we have people from the European Area here as well as the United States and there are scouts around that have been inviting people to different festivals in different parts of the world and asking people to perform in their countries. So it gives each country a chance to showcase exactly what that country has to offer.”

Duane Moody

“What is the statement that Belize is trying to make being out there with regards to its fashion, music, etc?”

Karen Vernon

“We are showing everybody that we are right on par—it is not better in some areas than other countries. I think we have maybe the smallest contingent, but we are big when it comes to performance and we are heard; we are seen and size doesn’t matter. We are showing people that Belize is there and we could be invited for all different type of functions and we are right on par with all the other Caribbean countries when it comes to our performance, fashion, visual arts, literary art; we are right there.  So far I think it is a huge success. The feeling here, the passion of all the Caribbean people; those from Central America—we may not all speak the same language, but when it comes to culture and the art, the language is universal and everybody just gets along.”

The Festival closes on Sunday and a portion of the contingent returns on Monday and the others on Wednesday. 

Channel 5