Mara takes up artistes’ cause
The Barbados government has pledged its commitment to the promotion of artistes and culture in Barbados, but at least two artistes say the respect is long overdue.
Speaking on Saturday night in Martins Bay, St John, at a cultural extravaganza that showcased some of Barbados’ best artistes, both Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate Mara Thompson gave their word.
Stuart said any society that wanted to be taken seriously first had to take its artistes seriously.
“It is they who help us to hear the sounds and see the sights of everyday life by what they write and sing, and how they perform; and I congratulate them for this,” the Prime Minister said.
Stuart, in support of Thompson as the DLP candidate for Thursday’s St John by-election, noted she was committed to things cultural, to the development of the young people and the arts, and those interested in returning the society to itself.
Thompson herself pledged to continue to champion the cause of local entertainers and to be in the forefront of lobbying for measures to better their lot.
However nine-time calypso monarch Red Plastic Bag said he really wanted to see culture being taken seriously.
“There has been a lot of talk of the cultural industries,” he stated, “but I am yet to see a real committed effort of funding.”
He said it would take some “financial muscle” to really position culture in the way that it could generate a high level of revenue for Barbados.
“When you look at Crop-Over and the amount of money it brings in, it is clear that there is a lot of culture that can be used to bring revenue and I hope that we can move to that level of respect and regard for culture.
Singer Adrian Clarke, himself a two-time calypso monarch winner, said he felt artistes in Barbados were not respected for the part they played in culture.
“The calypsonians are the ones that bring the people and generate the revenue. When tourists come they are looking for entertainment, not just CDs or sun and sand.
“We Barbadian entertainers have a lot of problems getting paid for what we do; so I’m happy that they are making a commitment to help the industry. No matter how small it is, we would love to see it done by the Government,” Clarke said.