Plymouth J’Ouvert returns in Tobago Heritage Festival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The popular Moriah Ole Time Wedding. –

AFTER two years of virtual staging of the Tobago Heritage Festival, owing to the covid19 pandemic, in-person events will return for the 2022 festival.

The calendar of events for the annual festival, scheduled for July 22 to August 1, was recently released on social media under the theme: Reigniting the flame of our legacy.

The opening-night production is on July 22, before action shifts to the Plymouth J’Ouvert and Miss Heritage Personality on July 23.

Registration opens on June 21 for the J’Ouvert and runs until July 15. There will competition in five categories: J’Ouvert band, J’Ouvert king, J’Ouvert queen, J’Ouvert couple and J’Ouvert individual.

The festival continues with the Northside combined talent competition on July 24, which will make way for Charlotteville Natural Day Treasures on July 25, then to Pembroke on July 27 for the Pembroke Salaka Feast.

All roads will lead to Les Coteaux for the Les Coteaux Folktales and Superstitions on July 28, followed by the Heritage Calypso Monarch on July 29. The Moriah Ole Time Wedding is on July 30, and the festival culminates on August 1 with the Emancipation Day celebration.

Newly-appointed chairman of the Tobago Festivals Commission Ltd (TFCL) Dr Charleston Thomas is promising a “shift in the tide” when it comes to festivals on the island.

Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities, and Transportation, Councillor Tashia Burris, installed the new Tobago Festivals board on Monday at the division, Sangster’s Hill, Scarborough.

The division said the new board will “spearhead a more strategic approach as it relates to the direction and management” of the commission.

“The newly-minted committee will work towards retooling and reculturing the organisation for greater efficiency and effectiveness.”

Speaking with Newsday on Tuesday, Thomas said he is ready to get to work.

“Excited – recognising that it is a challenging task but given the work ethics that I have developed over the years, I am very keen on getting the work done and getting the work done right.”

Dancers on the opening of the 2019 Tobago Heritage Festival at Shaw Park. –

With a doctoral training in cultural studies, he said that he has over 20 years’ experience in academia and academic administration.

Apart from Thomas, Burris also presented instruments of appointment to Onika Henry (deputy chairman); directors Dwayne Trim, Brittany-Lee Jordan, Omari Douglas, Carlis Boyce, Mark Peters and Perl Henry. Ex-officio members are Jemma Bedlow-Dennis, Salisha James and Candice Robinson, while Lorraine Forbes will serve as secretary.

What can Tobago look forward to from this new board?

Thomas said: “Exciting difference and good ethical practice. A shift in the tide.”

Burris, in a brief address, congratulated the members, thanking them for accepting the appointments and their commitment to work towards transforming and reshaping Tobago’s cultural landscape.

She said the board is comprised of industry professional including representatives from pan, calypso and mas fraternities, “who are equipped with unique skill sets, talents and experience in varying spheres. Given their wealth of expertise, I am pleased and confident that this is a board that will work for the best interests of Tobago.”

According to the release, the board’s first order of business would be to critically review and assess the Tobago Heritage Festival from a historical and cultural perspective following this years’ hosting. In addition, the members would be expected to further conceptualise the inaugural Tobago October Carnival and establish a framework for the event’s execution.