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Sep 2, 2015

Belize Makes its Mark at CARIFESTA 2015

Belize has once again made its mark at the international cultural celebration known as CARIFESTA. The biennial event, which features the work of artisans as well as the creative arts performers from CARICOM states, took place in Haiti this year. Thousands attend to experience a burst of culture from participating countries. The ten-day program concluded on Monday with Belize’s very own Jamie Thompson and his ostrich dance getting rave reviews. That performance and presentations made by the Lyfe Arts Project and the Garifuna Collective showcased Belize’s uniqueness, says Karen Vernon. 


Karen Vernon, Belize Head of Delegation, CARIFESTA

“CARIFESTA was a great cultural experience for the Belize delegation, which you know was represented by the Garifuna Collectives and Lyve Arts Project headed by Jamie Thompson and two artisans from UNIQUE Belize. Belize was very well received; our booth at the grand market was always busy. We had arts and craft to sell, we had stuff on display. We had Martha Chiac from Punta Gorda making her bags…live art, while people were there. The Destination Belize and the Flavors of Belize magazines were a big hit. As far as performances go, we were very well received. The Garifuna Collective, everybody loved; people could relate to their music. Apparently, the Garifuna language and the French language have much in common and so they were able to relate to each other and communicate with each other much more than just English-speaking people like myself. Jamie Thompson and the dance group were also very well received. We performed every day; we had only one day off over the ten day period. The Garifuna Collective also had only one. Some days were performed at more than one venue…so much so that they had double-booked us at an event and we were performing at one event and they had called us for the other. People were waiting there to see Belize and they left disappointed because we were at another venue. But all in all, we very well received. Jamie Thompson who did the ostrich dance was invited to perform at the closing ceremony which is huge and we were very proud of him and what he did. He came to Belize, choreographed for the group and you know they represented Belize very well.”

Karen Vernon


Duane Moody

“What does it say to the work that you guys have been putting in when it comes to the creative arts in general?”


Karen Vernon

“I think it speaks volumes because now we are on the stage. It has already been showcased so we don’t have to speak about it; people already know what we can do and what we can produce—what we have the ability to do.”

Vernon says that the hope for the Institute of Creative Arts and NICH is for the regional event to be hosted in Belize. 

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