On Sunday last, the curtain came down on CARIFESTA XIV. The Office of the President extends gratitude and congratulations to the organisers, participants, visitors and general public whose respective contributions ensured a successful and praiseworthy event.

Between August 16 and 25, 2019, we discovered, or were reminded of, the things that bind us and the possibilities that exist, through culture, for harmony among nations. Twenty-four contingents, cultural ambassadors of their respective countries, created a festival that portrayed our shared rich cultural heritage.

However, a discordant note was struck at the closing ceremony, when an unacceptable rendition of our National Anthem was performed. The National Anthem must be sung in its original music; no introduction or coda can be added or other artistic licence taken in its rendition. The offence is compounded when it occurs at an official function, as was the closing ceremony of CARIFESTA XIV.

Our National Anthem, like our National Flag and Coat of Arms, identifies us as a nation and must at all times be accorded the utmost respect.

This aberration aside, Trinidad and Tobago will long remember CARIFESTA XIV as a manifestation of Caribbean talent, unity and pride. Well done!