Trinidad and Tobago’s 41st anniversary of independence is being celebrated in Washington D.C. with a grand showcase of musical talent and an art exhibition launched Monday evening at the Organisation of American States.
The weeklong official spotlight on Trinidad and Tobago Week at the OAS culminates August 31, Independence Day in the twin-island Caribbean republic. It features the paintings and other creations by Kendrick Smith, Enola Arnold and Earl Manswell—who were present—as well as Dr. Kester Branford, who entertained the guests with excerpts from his newly-released novel “Rufus Who.”
After the exhibition was launched, guests were treated to “Classical Gems,” with performances by steel pan virtuoso Liam Teague, sopranos Rayanne Gonzales and Jeanine De Bique, 10 year old Nanda Devika Ramcoobair doing classical Indian dances; and cellist Isaac Matthews and sister Cheryl substituting for their sister, violinist Stephanie Matthews. Nevilla Ottley provided piano accompaniment.
Inaugurating the exhibition, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador Marina Valère welcomed her compatriots along with diplomats, friends and others to the evening’s fare that offered a taste of her country’s visual, literary and performing arts tradition. She praised her country as “a place that we as nationals carry with us in our hearts as we traverse the world.”
The Ambassador recalled that her nation was the first English-speaking Caribbean state to join the OAS, five years after independence. “Thirty-six years later, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to the principles laid out in the Organisation’s charter, and to the collective effort of the Organisation to deepen and strengthen cooperation, economic integration, democratic governance and security throughout the Hemisphere.”
Valère thanked her Embassy’s staff as well as the OAS staff for helping to organise the event.
OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi congratulated the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago on their independence milestone, recalling the work of the late Dr. Eric Williams’ to promote national unity as well as regional Caribbean integration. He noted that, “if he could be with us, Dr. Williams would feel that his work was not done in vain.”
Permanent Council Chairman, Haiti’s Ambassador Raymond Valcin, was among the diplomats and friends who joined Trinidad and Tobago nationals in the Washington area in celebrating the milestone of the Caribbean nation.
Mackisack Logie, the Alternate Representative of the Trinidad and Tobago Mission to the OAS, presided over the launch of the art exhibition, which remains open to the public until Friday, August 29.