Barbados' cultural gold mine

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 03 August 2013

stephenlashley1

BARBADOS IS sitting on a cultural gold mine, says Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley. Stating that cultural practitioners should be able to make a living year-round, the Minister said he was focused on ensuring that the cultural sector generated the kind of business activity that would add diversity to the economy. “I’m trying to create within Crop Over a much more user-friendly environment for those looking to do business in Crop Over, and one of the things I’m going to pursue is sunset legislation to govern this very important period where we can do things a bit more differently and have more facilitatory engagement. “The way forward for tourism has really got to be event-based, where persons who come to Barbados in their droves, their spend is increased. You will see that within the context of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), for example, one of the things I would have asked the CPL to consider is embracing entertainment within the context of cricket, and I’m happy that they have done that where they have very nicely interwoven entertainment within the CPL experience, and it’s a big hit.” Lashley stressed that with the right mix of cultural products and events, artists and promoters “can actually make a sustainable living throughout the whole year”, which would result in major benefits for the country. “We are sitting literally on a gold mine in terms of the cultural industries. We’ve also done the fine-tuning to the Cultural Industries Bill and that will create the incentive base to really grow the sector,” he added. Noting that the last study done in 2007 showed Crop Over generated about $80 million in economic activity annually, Lashley said his ministry was looking at another study “because I’m convinced it is much more than that”. (RJ)

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