Despite our rich cultural diversity – an area in which it has tremendous repository of knowledge and experience while much of the global community is now coming into awareness – Trinidad and Tobago is absent from intense discourse on cultural diversity in the international arena.
At home, it has no cultural policy. As a result there are perceptions of wide discrepancies and inequities in the treatment of different cultures and groups.
Internationally, it has not ratified the UNESCO Cultural Conventions: The Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and The Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). As a result:
T&T has no access to the UNESCO Fund for Cultural Diversity, launched earlier this month, March 2010 which helps support development of the culture sector.
T&T is deprived of access to many of the mechanisms for cultural exchange and trade because of lack of ratification. For example, the Cultural Protocol of the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement was used as currency to buy public approval for the EPA-EU agreement – but to access these benefits the country must ratify the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the establish cultural policy.
There is need for widespread consultation on a National Cultural Policy, using the current draft as a basis to identify and define:
i. T&T National Position(s) on culture, the cultural sector, and cultural industries
ii. National priorities for culture, the culture sector and cultural industries in Trinidad and Tobago
iii. Directions for culture, the culture sector and cultural industries in Trinidad and Tobago.
The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) has been actively promotion ratification of the 2005 Convention and establishment of cultural policies internationally, and specifically in the region. After several meetings throughout the region, the Caribbean Coalition for Cultural Diversity (CaribCCD) was announced at the Commonwealth People’s Forum 2009 to support the lobby for ratification of the UNESCO Conventions, promote national cultural policies and national priorities, as well as identify and promote regional cultural positions as they relate to heritage conservation, cultural co-operations, harmonization of policies, and copyrights among others. Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia and Dominica are among the 108 countries who have to date ratified, and other Caribbean countries are working towards this. Trinidad and Tobago remains virtually invisible in this conversation. This is to invite Trinidad and Tobago culture sector to make its input for national priorities that can be carried forward by the CaribCCD to the regional arena, the IFCCD and others to the international arena.
A. Please indicate with a tick/Yes/No and you may elaborate:
i. I/my organisation support these objectives
ii. I support ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) and the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH);
iii.I/my organization support public consultation towards a national cultural policy.
iv . I/my organisation support establishing national priorities for the culture sector.
B. Please submit what you/your organisation identify as priorities for consideration and incorporation into the objectives and advocacy agenda of the CaribCCD that may be carried forward to international meetings of the IFCCD and others.
C. Please identify contact person for your organisation and submit contact details – email, phone, address – of a person within your organization who can participate in discussions and consultations on these issues.
Send queries and submissions to:
Dr Kris Rampersad, email@example.com.
For further information see: