Port-of-Spain designated UNESCO City of Music

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 18:30

The city of Port-of-Spain has been des­ig­nat­ed a UN­ESCO City of Mu­sic, Port-of-Spain may­or Joel Mar­tinez an­nounced yes­ter­day.


In at­ten­dance at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, yes­ter­day, was Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ty De­vel­op­ment, Cul­ture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gads­by-Dol­ly, Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Paula Gopee-Scoon and a small group of pan play­ers, band­lead­ers, ca­lyp­so­ni­ans and drum­mers.

UN­ESCO Cre­ative Cities Net­work was formed in 2004 across sev­en cre­ative fields—mu­sic, film, lit­er­a­ture, gas­tron­o­my, me­dia arts, de­sign and craft and folk (art)—and has a mem­ber­ship of 246 cities.

There are five cities in the Caribbean—Ba­hamas, Jacmel, Ha­vana, San Domin­go and Kingston with Port-of-Spain reg­is­ter­ing as the sixth.

The ini­tia­tive was start­ed by Car­la Foder­ing­ham, for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Film Com­pa­ny of T&T.


In mak­ing the an­nounce­ment, Mar­tinez said the Port-of-Spain four-year plan to ac­tion has been aligned with UN­ESCO Cre­ative Cities Net­work’s mis­sion.

“If we want to progress as a peo­ple and coun­try our cap­i­tal city can­not re­main the same,” Mar­tinez told the at­ten­dees.

Mar­tinez said the di­rec­tor-gen­er­al of UN­ESCO de­cid­ed to des­ig­nate Port-of-Spain as a mem­ber of the cre­ative cities net­work in the field of mu­sic.

“Al­most every fes­ti­val or cul­tur­al ac­tiv­i­ty that pass­es through the streets of the city has some sort of mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment.”

He said the scope of the ini­tia­tives with­in Port-of-Spain’s four-year plan are both na­tion­al and in­ter­na­tion­al which would have ben­e­fits for many.

The mu­sic zones seek to es­tab­lish lo­ca­tions with­in Port-of-Spain to pro­mote mu­sic her­itage as a dri­ver for sus­tain­able ur­ban de­vel­op­ment.

The in­ten­tion is to pro­vide year-round op­por­tu­ni­ties for artists, mu­si­cians, en­tre­pre­neurs, res­i­dents, na­tion­als, vis­i­tors and the com­mu­ni­ty to ex­pe­ri­ence T&T’s mu­sic and cre­ativ­i­ty.

“We are look­ing at ways to max­imise our cul­tur­al po­ten­tial and our cre­ative city of mu­sic des­ig­na­tion does just that,” Mar­tinez said.

In thank­ing Foder­ing­ham and her team for their out­stand­ing work, Gads­by-Dol­ly said the work of civ­il so­ci­ety to build a coun­try is ex­treme­ly im­por­tant.

“Too of­ten it is all thrown on the backs of a gov­ern­ment or min­istry,” she said.

Gads­by-Dol­ly said the des­ig­na­tion comes on the heels of a suc­cess­ful 2019 Car­ifes­ta held in T&T.

“When one looks at the di­ver­si­ty that we were able to por­tray to the re­gion they were in awe with things that were nor­mal for us.

When we look at that, then it is clear that we re­al­ly de­serve this des­ig­na­tion and it re­al­ly to say to the rest of the world what we al­ways knew that we are a pow­er­ful city,” the min­is­ter said.

Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali