EDITORIAL: Capitalizing on Crop Over
Today marks the official launch of our biggest annual cultural event, the Crop Over Festival, with the opening gala and ceremonial delivery of the last canes as part of what should be a day of fun and merriment for the entire family in Queen’s Park.
But Crop Over is much more than a few weeks of enjoyment and entertainment. It is an opportunity for us to develop some aspects of the much-talked-about cultural industries and build meaningful links between sectors, particularly agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, and the arts.
The Crop Over Festival has grown into a multi-million dollar industry and we need to capitalize on every opportunity it offers, to create jobs, generate foreign exchange, develop creativity and help to positively showcase the island. This year must be no different.
However, we need to reflect on a number of issues as we celebrate over the next six weeks and to try to fully exploit the opportunities the festival will offer, given that the benefits are many.
It is a good time to ensure we have a “Buy Barbados” campaign, to boost sales of our manufactures. The list of possibilities is long, given the wide range of ingredients needed for the sheer volume of culinary treats available throughout the period. It is for the agricultural community to see, understand and exploit the occasion.
We would therefore hope our small and micro entrepreneurs also see the period as loaded with opportunities and take the risk, albeit with the necessary due diligence. It could be a golden opportunity to provide a range of goods and services, many of which the bigger businesses are unwilling or simply unable to efficiently deliver.
This is a period for creativity and innovation and we hope to see this reflected in our music, in the designs of costumes, set design and event management.
All these things must be achieved without Barbadians becoming lewd and/or vulgar. It is also a time for our radio stations to play a critical role by supporting the performing artistes and writers by playing their music, while exposing our music to the world.
We also appeal to the organisers of the various fetes and limes to respect the rights of others by turning down or off their music after certain hours; by desisting from parking indiscriminately and so stopping people from accessing businesses and their homes.
There is also a need to heed the appeals of the police and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) not to drink and drive. Given the level of celebration that will take place, you should have a designated driver, one who will stay within the speed limits. There is also a need to practise safe sex or, better still, abstain, during this period when we may be less cautious because of excesses.
Whatever we do throughout the Crop Over season, our watchword must be NISE, since people want value for money,and the festival is all about repeat business, whether to the tents, or the fetes, or even in attracting the visitors who grace our shores for the event.
Let us strive for excellence in whatever we do throughout the festival. It makes no sense engaging in a sotto voce quarrel about the festival without trying to integrate. Go out, participate and enjoy yourself.