Help for culture industry lauded
THE MECHANISM being set up to help the cultural industries is one of the most significant overtures made to the arts and culture, says Minister of Youth, Family, Sports and Culture, Stephen Lashley.
Seaking during debate on the Financial Statement and Budgetary proposals in the House of Assembly last night, Lashley said Government’s commitment of $50 million over five years to cultural industry practitioners was “a very revolutionary step in Barbados”, and his Ministry was already working to give immediate effect to it; while the Cultural Industries Bill, slated to be presented in Parliament at yearend, was at an advanced stage of preparation.
He also lauded the incentive of a duty-free arrangement for the importation of recording studio equipment, and noted that Barbadian artistes who have had to go abroad to record music would now be able to set up their recording base in Barbados, thereby creating a drawing card for other artistes.
Adding that the creative economy would be one of the planks on which Government would further diversify the local economy, Lashley said the studio incentive would also foster the rise of community studios in Barbados, including one studio in the new community centre earmarked for Silver Hill, Christ Church.
“Our young men and women, who will be the ones to carry forward the creative and cultural sector, we have to ensure that we put in place the infrastructure to support them,” the Minister stated.
Lashley, noting that the tax relief measures and rebates for equipment in the cultural sector was a step in the right direction, pointed out that the creative sector was a major plank of economic growth worldwide and there was no reason why Barbados could not earn some of that revenue. He also praised Government’s incentives to motorsport, stating that it must be embraced in relation to sports tourism and its role in diversifying the economy.
“It’s one of the fastest growing areas of economic activity in the world, growing at a rate of $4.5 trillion annually. By showing confidence in the motor racing fraternity and the Bushy Park venue, it is a clear indication that Government is committed to sports tourism,” he said.
Lashley also voiced support for the legislation that would validate longstanding extensions on National Housing Corporation units. Saying this would rid tenants of some challenges in getting conveyances, he described this move as one of the meaningful measures designed to empower Barbadians and take forward the transformation started by the Democratic Labour Party.(RJ)