In 2006, a group of dedicated Caribbean leaders along with the Caribbean American Young Adults Social and Civic Organization (CAYASCO) partnered with our host Riverfront Recapture Inc. to present the first Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival. At that time a vision was articulated to help enhance the City of Hartford’s revitalization efforts. In its inaugural year, an estimated 7,000 people from a variety of economic backgrounds, nationalities and races visited the Riverfront Plaza. Since its inception, the Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival has grown exponentially.
Board of Directors
Leslie G. Perry
Executive Director's Bio
At an early age, Mr. Leslie G. Perry was committed to serve. While living in Mamaroneck, New York he became active in the NAACP Youth Group and participated in fighting against discrimination in housing and other civil rights activities. He attended Westchester Community College and transferred to the University of Hartford in 1966. Upon graduating in 1967 he was recruited by the University of Hartford and The Hartford Board of Education as a teacher during the revolt of the late 1960’s.
Currently, Mr. Perry and his wife Norma are retired. They reside in West Palm Beach, Florida and Bloomfield, Connecticut. Mr. Perry is Vice President of The Northshore Neighborhood Association and Vice President of Caribbean American Democratic Club of Palm Beach County.
Melinda DeBeatham-Terrell (Jamaican heritage) was Born in the city of Hartford, CT.
As a child Melinda always wanted to be in business, so she pursued a degree and career in business administration and management/insurance. Melinda’s other love is music. She started singing and directing a choir at the age of 11 and continues to do the same 40 years later. Melinda loves people and working in the community. She worked with the West Indian celebration committee bringing gospel to the platform and then with The Taste of the Caribbean from its inception as the Entertainment Chair, Vice-President and now as the President. Still to this day she enjoys every minute; “It’s a joy to bring our culture to the people” and if you build it, they will come.” are two of her favorite mantras.
Melinda is a mother of two and is married to musical song writer, producer, and musician Burnie T. She is a Christian and a life-long member of Rehoboth Church of God in Bloomfield, CT. where she serves as the assistant minister of music and Lead stage manager. In her spare time Melinda manages, produce and work with numerous artists and entertainers. Melinda’s favorite things to do is to travel, shop, sing, and of course family is #1.
Juliet D. Relph
Vice President's Bio
Juliet Relph has been with the Taste of The Caribbean Arts & Culture CT, Inc. since 2009. Juliet has held various roles over the years; however, she is currently holding the role of Vice President. Juliet resides in Connecticut and is semi-retired! Juliet loves to travel “Barbados Ah Cum From”
Executive Secretary's Bio
Ruth Rose is from the tiny island of Anguilla and graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) with a business degree. She’s married to Winston Rose and has three children, Brittney, Andrew and Julian and 2 grandchildren, (Jayden and Carter). For over 25 years, she has been very active in her church community serving on the Vestry, teacher/leader of the Church school, usher co-chair and wherever she’s called to be.
Ruth has been a member of The Taste of The Caribbean Arts & Culture CT, Inc. since 2016 and performed in a variety of roles. She is currently Executive Secretary, Former Chair of the Children’s Village and contributor to the magazine and fund-raising committees. Interests include reading, cooking and entertaining. Loves to travel and bucket list includes visiting as much of the Caribbean and Africa as possible to gain a better understanding of her roots.
Assistant Secretary's Bio
Dorrette Sterling was born in Kingston, Jamaica and migrated to the United States as a young child in the late 70’s. Dorrette proudly served in the US Navy and is currently employed by the State of Connecticut for the past 21 years. She enjoys gardening and serving the community through her volunteer work. Dorrette has been singing and performing for many years with several bands locally, as well as out of state. Her greatest accomplishment is being the proud mother of two amazing boys. She currently holds the position of “Assistant Secretary” on the Taste of The Caribbean Board.
Financial Secretary's Bio
Elorie Stevens was born in St. Elizabeth Jamaica. She is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a BA in Sociology and Applied Social Relations. She later obtained her Masters of Social Work Degree from Westfield State University. While at Eastern, Elorie Co-Founded the West Indian Society; an organization that serves as an information and support center for students of West Indian Caribbean Origin.
Elorie has been employed with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families since 1995 where she started as a Social Worker before moving into her current position as the Western Regional Intensive Placement Specialist.
Elorie is a member of the Executive Steering Committee for the Massachusetts Hampden County Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) and she is a member of the Dual Status Youth Practice Network through the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice.
Elorie has presented at various local and national forums; including, The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps Leadership Institute Retreat, The Massachusetts JDAI Annual Conference, The Models for Change Conference, The Citizens for Juvenile Justice Conference and Westfield State University Pathways to Excellence Board of Trustees Conference. She has also served as a faculty at the Massachusetts 15th Annual Juvenile Delinquency and Child Welfare Law Conference.
In 2013, Elorie received the Juvenile Justice Alternative Initiative Promising Practice Award for her outstanding work in the Massachusetts Hampden County Dually Involved Youth Practice Reform. She is also the recipient of the Massachusetts Child Welfare MSW Fellowship Award.
Currently; Elorie serves as a local Dis Jockey on Busy Radio Station, a platform that allows her to Inform Educate, and Inspire the Community. Elorie also serves as the Financial Secretary and Fundraising Chair Person for the Taste of the Caribbean Arts and Culture CT, Inc.; she has been a member since 2009. Elorie is passionate about this non-profit organization’s dedication to improving Central Connecticut’s quality of life through cultural events and education.
Outside of her work and volunteer interest, Elorie enjoys traveling, reading, worshiping and spending quality time with family and friends.
Our Team Continued…
Melinda DeBeatham Terrell
ALISTA Technologies, LLC
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Taste Of The Caribbean & Jerk Festival
P.O. Box 1604
Hartford, CT 06144-1604
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