Belfast, Northern Ireland — To commemorate Emancipation Day (August 01), regional integration and the camaraderie of the Caribbean, particularly those of Caribbean decent in Northern Ireland, CaribbeanFest was established.
Supported by the Consulate of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to Northern Ireland, Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, Equality Commission, volunteers and artists from the Caribbean Diaspora, in partnership with the registered charity African Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI) and Association of Caribbean Nationals (ACAN) a Caribbean food festival, cultural exhibition, concert and cricket match to support social integration, cohesion and cross-community partnerships was held.
The main countries involved were St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Lucia; promoting their history, culture, food and life in and amongst Northern Ireland communities.
Vincentian Mrs Yolande Robertson-Greene, members of the Vincentian British Forces Wives/Women’s Association (VBFWA) and Vincentian Diaspora in Northern Ireland provided a Vincentian banquet, including the country’s national dish (roasted breadfruit and fried fish), souse, goat curry, doucana, pelau, salads and peanut cake.
Vincentian dancers, poetry and the headline act, Vincentian Prince Marcus, provided entertainment. Vincentian artefacts were on display to the public alongside SVG tourism and business information supplied by the SVG Ministry of Tourism and SVG Consulate in Northern Ireland, promoting the 32 island destination.
Lord Mayor of Belfast – Cllr. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir and Dr Christopher Stange – Hon. Consul for St. Vincent and the Grenadines & Chair (Ag.) of ACSONI provided official remarks.
Dr Stange commented: “I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the invaluable contribution made by members of the Vincentian community in Northern Ireland to society, the economy and civic life. The passion, commitment and capabilities of members of this community cannot be overemphasized. Today we can see for a small country we have hit well above our weight, patriotism and in promoting our beautiful nation. On behalf of the SVG Government, I am delighted to extend my profound sentiments to all our Caribbean neighbours and our wonderful civilization. Tonight we pay tribute to a great region of the world and its great people.”