BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday August 18, 2017 – The highly anticipated 13th Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA XIII) will not officially start today after all, and Tropical Storm Harvey is to blame.
The storm is also responsible for several flights being cancelled by regional airline LIAT, some of which CARIFESTA delegations had been scheduled to take to arrive in Barbados to be part of the August 18 to 27 festival.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley explained late yesterday that the CARIFESTA opening originally set for 6 p.m. today at Kensington Oval following a parade and pre-show, had to be postponed because the country’s preparations for the arrival of Tropical Storm Harvey had significantly impacted arrangements for the opening ceremony.
“The national response ahead of the system has forced the cancellation of the mandatory dress rehearsal which was scheduled to be held at Kensington Oval [Thursday] evening…Immediate measures have also had to be taken to safeguard equipment at the venue,” he explained, adding that due to the expected inclement weather, some flights had been cancelled and some of the delegations due to arrive in Barbados would therefore be delayed.
He said a new date for the opening ceremony would be announced “very shortly”.
CARIFESTA, the region’s premier art and culture festival, attracts artists and culture professionals from more than 30 countries in the region and has been held 12 times across eight Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states. Barbados is hosting the event for the second time – the first being in 1981 – and 2,000 artists from 27 countries are scheduled to participate in the 10-day event.
LIAT also cancelled more flights today, including seven to Barbados.
In an advisory issued this morning, the Antigua-based carrier said that “due to several airport closures and late opening times”, 16 flights for today have been called off, while passengers on its flight LI 771 from St. Vincent to Port of Spain should expect some delays.
The cancelled flights are:
LI 773 from Antigua to Barbados
LI 381 from Dominica to Barbados
LI 304 from St. Vincent to Barbados
LI 374 from Barbados to St. Lucia
LI 375 from St. Lucia to Barbados
LI 308 from Trinidad to Grenada
LI 308 from Grenada to Barbados
LI 310 from Port of Spain to St. Vincent
LI 310 from St. Vincent to St. Lucia
LI 310 from St. Lucia to Antigua
LI 300 from Barbados to Tortola
LI 301 from Tortola to Barbados
LI 370 from Barbados to St. Lucia
LI 371from St. Lucia to St. Vincent
LI 371 from St. Vincent to Barbados
LI 771 from Barbados to St. Vincent
LIAT said passengers who have been affected by the cancellations would be allowed to rebook within the next two weeks with all change fees waived.