As the Garifuna Collective prepares for their trip to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, for the World Music Expo (WOMEX), several organizations have stepped out in garnering support for the group. Today Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and the Office of the Music Ambassador announced that they have donated a sum of thirty thousand dollars to the Garifuna Collective to further assist them with their efforts in representing Belize at WOMEX this October. Al Obando, a member of the Garifuna Collective spoke on behalf of the group and what the Collective is doing to help reach WOMEX.
Al Obando: This is not our presentation. This is the country’s representation of what music is and internationally this WOMEX itself will decide what will happen to Belizean music, where it will be played, who all will be booking the groups and this music will be shared from Belize. NICH is going to for sure to come in and the band itself is doing our own like gigs. Like this weekend we are playing in Chachis; like small gigs we are doing to save half of the money and put towards like the Visa initiative itself is like $6000 just to go to Guatemala and get the Visas. We are doing that on our own and so we almost have that covered. Through NICH again we got the Costa Maya gig you know and at the same time we got the 20th night Flag Raising Ceremony. We have been promised that and so that’s how we will do it.
Representatives from the Office of the Music Ambassador, the Belize Telemedia Ltd and the Belize Tourism Board also spoke on behalf of their organizations.
Music Ambassador Shyne Barrow: Well I have a very strong working relationship with Digi cell. They are one of my biggest supporters and they are very much into the Arts and the Culture and I think I have to attribute the gravity of my presentation to the Garifuna Collective. When you look at the achievement of them being selected to perform at such a prestigious World Music Expo I think that sells itself. We as a nation; I always encourage the need to be behind our artists. That is the only way that they will get to a first world level. I think they are already there but we just need to continue to sustain that level of excellence and it is up to people like DIgicell, myself, the Government of Belize and other private donors to come together collectively to push that our artists sustain that first world level that they are on right now.
Digi cell Representative: It’s a part of our responsibility to give back to the Belizean people and we have partnered with the Garifuna Collective before and so for the development of music in Belize that’s one of the main pillars for civic outreach for BTL and so why not partner with Garifuna Collective and what they are doing in representing Belize and the music that we have in Belize abroad at WOMEX 2018.
Belize Tourism Board Representative: When it comes to culture and history the Belize Tourism Board shares the same thing with the National Institute of Culture and History when it comes to Belize and actually putting Belize in a very positive light to locals as well as tourist entering this country. We believe that it’s always a good gesture to promote culture and on a personal note I think myself a very big fan of the Garifuna Collectives. Andy Palacio was my best friend and I believe that this is a step in the right direction. I believe that I am honored and privileged; as a matter of fact I am very emotional to be selected by the Belize Tourism Board to represent them in handing over this small token to the Garifuna Collective to help them on their journey to make this another historic and momentous occasion in Belize’s history.
The Collective will be in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, for the World Music Expo (WOMEX) from October 24 to the 28th.