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CARICOM endorses art and fashion project for Haiti

Published:Saturday | April 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Haiti Art and Fashion Project, an initiative of the Pulse Foundation, has received the formal endorsement of CARICOM. The project will be held during Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) June 8-14 at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

Recently, trustees of the foundation, chaired by Lois Sherwood, presented the project to former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who now serves as the special representative of CARICOM on Haiti. Patterson, who had been advised of the project from inception, lauded the initiative as a key tool for the redevelopment of the cultural and creative sector in Haiti.

Said Patterson's office in a statement released this week, "Culture represents the ethos and strength of a people, and Haiti has much to offer in this regard."

Patterson emphasised Haiti's rich cultural legacy and the need to restore and preserve it. He expressed the hope that Haiti would not only be rebuilt, but would be built better than it was before the devastating earthquake on January 12. Patterson further noted that the creative industry was a fairly new sector which had strong commercial and economic impact for countries such as Jamaica and Haiti, given the countries' diversity.

Pulse Chairman Kingsley Cooper indicated that as the executive producer of Caribbean Fashionweek, and as chairman of the Caribbean Fashion Industry Association (both entities are partners in the Haiti Project), he believes that Haiti's creative and cultural reconstruction will ultimately be part of, and a catalyst for, a wider development of these industries in the greater Caribbean.

Special night for Haiti

In attendance at the project's presentation and endorsement at Patterson's New Kingston office were Cooper, Pulse general manager Romae Gordon and director of the office of the special representative, Maureen Vernon.

The proceeds of a special night of CFW dedicated to Haiti (June 10) will go to the Haiti Art and Fashion Project. Several designers, entertainers and celebrities have indicated an interest in participating in this effort. The initiative will support the rehabilitation and further development of Haiti's creative arts, fashion and creative business over a five-year period. Many everyday Haitians earn a living from this industry.

Pulse said it intends to work in tandem with CARICOM, as well as the international body charged with the responsibility of planning the reconstruction of Haiti. It also said the Haiti Art and Fashion Project would be more focused on medium-to long-term reconstruction and development in that country, and more specifically the creative arts and business sectors.