The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Patrice Minors is currently in Barbados attending the 8th African Diaspora Heritage Trail [ADHT] Conference. The conference began today [Sept 17] and concludes on Wednesday.
This year’s conference theme is “Our Heritage, Our Identity: Uncover, Recover, Discover” and is expected to bring renewed focus to the rich histories of the African Diaspora.
The conference programme comprises of a number of concurrent sessions and panel discussions. Topics to be addressed include; Recovering Our Ancestral links; African Retentions in the Caribbean; African Spirituality in the Caribbean; Black Resistance Music of the Diaspora; Road Marches of the Caribbean; Protected Areas and Spirituality; Mute Memory: Letting Artefacts Speak; Cultural Resistance to Slavery; The Presence of Absence; Black Immigrants in Latin America; Community Case Studies- How Nova Scotia Engages Communities; and Linking Museums to the Places of History and Culture.
Earlier today, the Minister addressed attendees, panelists and participants on the opening day of the summit saying: “Starting from such humble beginnings in Bermuda, this cultural summit has grown by leaps and bounds, and I am pleased that Bermuda’s former Minister of Tourism, the late David Allen developed the concept of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail which aims to appeal to that discerning market segment seeking a culturally enriched vacation experience.”
Minister Minors full statement follows below:
On behalf of the Government and the people of Bermuda I am simply delighted to bring you greetings on the occasion of the 8th Annual African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference.
I must offer a particular thanks to the host country Barbados, who has embraced the ADHT initiative. I understand that over the years Barbados has continued its work in the preservation and celebration of its rich African history and heritage. And efforts in this regard have culminated in the development of the Barbados Slave Route Heritage Trail, Freedom Footprints: The Barbados Story, which also serves as its African Diaspora Heritage Trail and Tour.
So we are grateful for all of your efforts for keeping this initiative alive and thriving.
Ladies and gentlemen, with the theme this year being “Our Heritage, Our Identity: Uncover, Recover, Discover”, we anticipate that this conference will indeed bring renewed focus to the rich histories of the African Diaspora.
I must say that eight years is truly a milestone achievement for this conference.
Starting from such humble beginnings in Bermuda, this cultural summit has grown by leaps and bounds, and I am pleased that Bermuda’s former Minister of Tourism, the late David Allen developed the concept of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail which aims to appeal to that discerning market segment seeking a culturally enriched vacation experience.
More importantly this event serves as a critical vehicle to strengthen our friendships with the Caribbean and African nations by way of a mutual economical project to promote cultural tourism.
Ladies and gentlemen, the late David Allen was a larger than life figure… a big thinker with grand ideas.
He had tremendous passion and dedication for the Trail and he truly believed the concept had principle and purpose for the unity of all people alike.
In recent years, the ADHT initiative has expanded to include supporting African and Caribbean Nations and I think if he were alive today, David, would have been amazed at what has been accomplished to date.
As a testament of the strong momentum of this initiative the United Republic of Tanzania was the first African nation to adopt the ADHT programme in 2009 and since its inception our ADHT Bermuda Foundation has communicated with several additional African countries to launch the initiative.
The ADHT Conference 2009 in Tanzania was a major milestone with the development of several new ADHT heritage sites in Tanzania including Zanzibar thus linking Africa to Bermuda through cultural tourism.
So we must continue our efforts to expand the ADHT by ensuring that the ADHT cross border initiative continues to develop internationally.
While granted the concept of the African Diaspora movement has been mainstreamed in the international marketplace for several decades and is globally recognized, our challenge is the cultural tourism concept of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail.
It must be our mission to educate and promote the trail’s numerous benefits such as economic prosperity within the local communities and enhancement of cultural tourism including supporting industries to potential host countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, the African Diaspora Heritage Trail has generated recognition for Bermuda as the world leader and founder of the ADHT cultural tourism initiative by which persons of African descent can build global networks to educate, preserve and promote their significant contributions made to the economic viability and rich cultural heritage of their respective Diaspora country.
But we believe that there is so much more to do and so many more countries in the Diaspora who can benefit from the exposure this initiative can generate. And I think that this is a task that we are well positioned to successfully tackle.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, as I close, I would like to share with you part of a quote by Steven Biko:
“…when you change the way a person thinks, things will never be the same…”
We have the power as a collective body to make a difference.
Our ADHT sites collectively attract visitors from around the world seeking greater understanding and appreciation of the African Diaspora experience.
I am of the view that the Trail is an ongoing work in progress and this conference serves as a wonderful networking opportunity for all of you to collaborate and come up with new and exciting ideas to expand this initiative to even more countries, and thus by doing so, you are expanding it to a wider target market of culturally discerning visitors.
It has been my pleasure to address you today and I wish you very fruitful deliberations in the days ahead.