Setting the stage for what promises to be another stellar conference, the 13th annual Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC – 13) will be held from April 15 to 18 in Guyana. Organized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in collaboration with the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), the eco-astute event is the most important gathering on sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.
|Guyana Parliament Buildings ( credit: GTA)|
Nestled on the north-eastern shoulder of South America, Guyana is the only official English-speaking country on the continent celebrated for its unspoiled beauty, spirited indigenous culture and thundering waterfalls like
|Kaieteur Falls ( credit: GTA)|
|Jaguar cat (credit: GTA)|
|Kanuku Mountains ( credit: GTA)|
Giving the keynote address, Bharrat Jagdeo, former president of Guyana, will discuss the deployment of the regions tropical rainforests as a strategy to curb global warming. “The former president has developed a strong reputation globally for his relentless advocacy for action to avert the worst extremes of climate change,” said Gail Henry, product specialist, (CTO), “We eagerly anticipate a dynamic and highly relevant keynote presentation from him.”
With the theme ‘Keeping the Right Balance: Sustaining our Resources’, the conference will be held the Guyana International Conference Centre with headquarters at the 200-room Princess Hotel , the largest conference center and casino in the country. Additional participating hotels include the Roraima Duke Lodge, Roraima Residence Inn and the Cara Lodge Hotel.
|Princess Hotel ( credit: TripAdvisor)|
Adhering to the mandate of furthering environmental sustainability, the CTO has enlisted the artistic endeavors of Bajan artist Reggie Medford to craft the aptly named “Reggie “ award presented to the country hosting the event .“ We have been impressed with the work of Medford Mahogany for many years, “said Hugh Riley, secretary general, CTO, “when Reggie Medford offered to donate a mahogany trophy to the Sustainable Tourism Conference, we readily accepted. His generosity illustrates his support for the ideals of the conference and gives us an opportunity to highlight the involvement of small, indigenous enterprises in the Caribbean’s tourism industry.”
Heart of the Art
Working in his studio on a picturesque hillside overlooking Bridgetown, Reggie is a self-taught artist and one of the islands natural treasures. His gallery aptly named ‘Medford Craft World ‘showcases his unique sculptures he crafts from the mahogany wood found in Barbados. “Historically, all the plantation houses in Barbados would use this type of wood for their furnishing, “he said polishing one of his masterpieces, “When I entered this trade I found myself using only mahogany and have used it for the past thirty-six years with absolutely no regret”.
|Reggie at work ( credit: Zimbio)|
|Reggie in his studio ( credit: D. Roberts)|
A labor of love for the gracious sculptor, he was once a student of the sciences but followed his heart to the world of personal creativity. "I think it all happened within a couple of months, “he remembers, “during my last year of school, I was getting prepared for exams when I realized that I would rather work for myself because too many people are not doing what they want to do. “ Inspired by the coconut palms growing in the yard where he grew up, his passion turned to art and the rest is island history. “I wanted to find something to do that I will grow to love. At that point, I had no idea what that was, I was drifting around ideas until I started to fiddle around with coconut shells, hacksaw, varnish and sandpaper “he smiles.
|Medford Crafts (credit: D. Roberts)|
Fiddle he did by cutting the shell in half and then crafting exquisite pieces of jewelry like earrings and bracelets that he still makes today. “The coconut tree was right there so I had no need to buy anything and years later I am still here.”
A charming gentleman of fifty-six years young, Reggie perfected a sanding process that results in a smooth and fine finish. "It is the speed of the process that makes it interesting, “he says fashioning a decorative box from mahogany,” the traditional chisel and knife is very slow and places a lot of pressure on the fingers, in other words there is more blood and sweat and tears doing it that way.” After transporting the tree to the Craft Center, Reggie and his dedicated colleagues use every part from root to branch to fashion their signature works of art.
|Decorative Box ( credit: BTA)|
|Medford Crafts ( credit: D. Roberts)|
His exhibits have earned critical acclaim throughout the Caribbean, USA and Europe, he was the youngest recipient of The Barbados Centennial Honour and his work is proudly owned by global Heads of State including South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.
Reggie Medford has carved out a life and a legacy and is delighted to share his vision with visitors to the island, “travelers should be able to see unique sites, eat unique foods and purchase unique gifts , “ he adds proudly, “ and that is just what they do when they visit this shop."
Get in Touch
For register for STC-13, visit www.caribbeanstc.com.
For more information on Reggie’s art, visit http://medfordcraftworld.com/