Press release 247/2008
(08 August 2008
 
TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES, MINIMAL IMMIGRATION HASSLE FOR CARIFESTA - HOST COUNTRY PLEASED WITH RESPONSE

 
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) With enhanced security a high priority of the Caribbean Region, the Government of Guyana is assuring delegations expected to participate in CARIFESTA X that “tight security measures” were in place.

This assurance was given by Guyana’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, on 07 August, 2008, at a Media Clinic via video conference facilitated by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat to apprise the regional media of general preparations for the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), slated for August 22 - 31, 2008 in Guyana.

Dr. Anthony said that a team of security experts headed by Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon Clement Rohee and including personnel from private security firms, the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force, had formulated what he described as a “comprehensive security plan” for safety during CARIFESTA X.

Relaying his confidence in the security forces capacity to guarantee a safe environment during the Festival, the Minister stated that Guyana hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup, the 2007 Rio Group Summit and the Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting successfully and similar security measures which were in place for those high profile events would be employed during CARIFESTA X.

With regard to regional response to CARIFESTA, the Culture Minister said that he was pleased with the support from the Caribbean, and the Latin American countries. He stated that so far, 31 countries had indicated their interest in participating in this Caribbean Festival of Arts and added that over 20 had already provided specific programme information.

Catering for the large influx of persons expected to pass through the ‘bottle-mouth’ immigration system, he Minister stated that “special arrangements” would be implemented to expedite the process for Regional delegations to gain entry into Guyana.

Citing a specific method that was employed to support arrangements for a ‘hassle free’ immigration process, the Culture Minister revealed that the Secretariat had sent special tags to participating countries for their delegations to be properly identified and serviced expeditiously on arrival at the Cheddie Jagan International Airport.

“The process at the airport will be very minimal” Dr. Anthony stated.

He said also that Immigration Officers had been trained to deal effectively with the influx of visitors expect for CARIFESTA and they are mandated to observe specific protocol to ensure “minimal hassle and minimal time” at the airport.

Regarding sky rocking travel cost, which coincides with increase in fuel prices and the peak travel season, the Minister said that the CARIFESTA Secretariat attempted to mitigate the effect of the current situation by holding discussion with airline operatives. He stated that while they gave no guarantees to reduce travel cost, the Secretariat was assured that prices would have remained stable.

During the video conference also, the media were apprised of the cultural genres that have been programmed for CARIFESTA X, which the festival’s Artistic Director, Dr. Paloma Mohamed said included literary symposia featuring acclaimed Caribbean writer Derek Walcott and former Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Professor Rex Nettleford; visual, philatelic, nomothetic, performing and culinary arts; four super concerts, a Fashion Village, Youth Village, a Grand Market, and the first Pan-Caribbean Edutainment Symposium.

CONTACT: piu@caricom.org
 

 
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