Independence 2013: Callaloo as national dish and very little cash
If the Cabinet of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit approves, callaloo will soon become Dominica's national dish.
Jacinta Bannis, the chairperson of the Emblems Committee and Raymond Lawrence, the Chief Cultural Officer have recommended to the Cabinet that callaloo, the popular Caribbean dish, should be officially named Dominica's national dish, a well-informed source disclosed to the Sun.
The source said the recommendation was based on the results of at least four surveys organised to solicit the views of Dominicans on the subject and the National Independence Committee has endorsed the recommendation. National dishes are part of a nation's identity and self-image.
Originating in West Africa, callaloo is part of the cuisine of many Caribbean countries and is Trinidad's national dish. In Dominica, callaloo is made out of dasheen leaves or spinach and may include coconut milk, smoked meat, crabs, seasoning and other ingredients.
The dish could replace the mountain chicken or frog legs (also called crapeau) as Dominica's national dish. The need for a new national dish became obvious to Dominicans because the mountain chicken is almost extinct; most crapeau have been killed by Chytridiomycosis, a fungal skin condition.
Meanwhile, the Government of Dominica has provided $38,000, about 25 percent of a budget submitted by the Cultural Division, for the implementation of the 2013 independence programme. Consequently, many of the planned activities may be curtailed unless Lawrence finds other financial assistance, the source stated. The theme for this year's observance of independence is: One Mission One Dominica Celebrating 35. Dominica became politically independent from Britain on November 3, 1978.
In 2013, the six-week celebration begins on September 21st and 22nd with the usual Island –wide church service; the festivities will be officially opened on September 27. Other highlights include: the usual athletics events and cultural festivals; a lecture on koudmein and the annual E.O Leblanc Distinguished Memorial Lecture; the Miss Wob Dwiyet Pageant (on October 18); the NCCU CadenceLypso Competition and the annual Creole in the Park as well as the World Creole Music Festival. Heritage Day will be held in the Bagatelle, Fond St. Jean Pointe Caraibe area.
Originally planned to be held in the Windsor Park Sports Stadium, the Cultural Gala will now take place at the Botanic Gardens due to budgetary constraints. If held at the Stadium the event would have set the Cultural Division back $17,000; at the Botanic Gardens it will cost $500.
To give a boost to the Gala, the Independence Committee suggested the inclusion of a dance by Prime Minister Skerrit and his Culture Minister. Up to last week, Mr Skerrit had neither accepted nor declined the invitation.