CTO says COVID-19 severely affects Caribbean-American Heritage Month

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) says the novel coronavirus pandemic has severely affected the annual Caribbean-American Heritage Month, which is being observed in the United States in the month of June.

CTO acting secretary general, Neil Walters, said that the event is being observed “during what is one of the most difficult periods in our history and that of the world”. The pandemic, he added, has placed economies under tremendous strain, “ground life as we’ve known it to a virtual halt, and, frankly, forced fundamental changes to all of our lives.

“And sadly, it has also taken so many lives, including large numbers of our Caribbean brothers and sisters. We mourn this loss of life, and our hearts ache for the families devastated by the loss of their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, relatives, and friends,” he said.

Walters said that the CTO applauds and pays homage to the many Caribbean immigrants who join colleagues on the front line, selflessly giving of themselves as nurses, doctors, and other essential workers in the fight against the virus.

Walters said that as a result of the pandemic Caribbean Week in New York has been cancelled, as well as the Rum and Rhythm Benefit.

But he said that the CTO was looking forward “to our emergence from this pandemic as a much stronger, more determined, and more united people whose contribution to home and adopted home cannot be matched”.

According to Walters, Caribbean-American Heritage Month had “become the period during which every Caribbean immigrant, as well as those of us who live in the Caribbean unite in our proud display of all that make us among the most creative, production, vibrant, warm, and welcoming people in the world.

“It’s also when the Caribbean Tourism Organisation would take this vibrancy energy and diversity to New York during Caribbean Week New York,” he added.

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