Astana, Kazakhstan - "Expo Astana 2017 came to a close last weekend in Astana, Kazakhstan. Hosted under the theme "Future Energy" the exhibition was held from June 10 - September 10, 2017. Participants came from as many as one hundred and fifteen (115) countries and twenty-two (22) International Organisations. Inclusive were twelve (12) CARICOM Member States; Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
While Trinidad and Tobago did not participate in the exposition , the twin-island Republic was well represented and actively promoted by four (4) pannists of the Caribbean Steelpan Connextion Ensemble, which is based in Belmont. Through the vigorous and generous efforts of Ms. Leela Ramoutar, Commissioner of the CARICOM Pavilion, the four travelled from Trinidad in early July to Astana.
According to the group's manager, Ms. Israel McLeod (MA), the team deemed their participation "an absolute success" but one which was not without its challenges. McLeod reiterated the need for Government (together with the steelpan's parent body, PanTrinbago) to place on its front burner, "structured, informed and realistic solutions," to alleviating the costs on the shipping, air freight and insurance of instruments as an example. This she felt, would help to create more international travel for steelpan orchestras, thereby making bands more "self-sufficient and consequently, increasing the income for its membership through global performances."
When asked about the reception of the steelpan, McLeod also relayed that it "greatly mesmerized," the attendees and exhibitors while "boosting the morale of my guys." Infact, McLeod boasted that it was because of Ms. Ramoutar's vision and passion, that the CARICOM Pavilion won the Gold Award for Joint Pavilion Design Content during the award ceremony of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).
"These world expositions present incredible opportunities for the branding, marketing and promoting of countries," said Ms. Ramoutar.
She concluded that the CSC Members made sure that Trinidad and Tobago was well represented as the TT Flag was proudly displayed at every performance and inclusive of the Expo Parade." .
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