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Unlimited benefits of Crop Over

shadiasimpson, [email protected]

Unlimited benefits of Crop Over

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ON THE FINAL DAY of Crop Over, we can start our reflection on this summer of festivities. There was a reinvigoration of the festival – some of which may have been accidental – but which, nonetheless, brought significant benefits.
The festival, revived in 1974 as a way of drawing visitors to these shores for part of the slow summer season while honouring those who work in the sugar industry, has changed over the years.
Some people frowned on what they perceived as the festival having little to do with the sugar harvest and becoming primarily an entertainment event. But, the reality is that change is inevitable especially as the once mighty sugar industry continues to decline.
 Our emphasis must therefore shift to using Crop Over as a means of creating new jobs, earning foreign exchange, and developing our technological, branding and merchandising skills through the tourism and cultural industries.
 Barbadians seem to recognize the shift given the level of support they have given to the various events through the season, whether organized by the National Cultural Foundation or private promoters; free or fee-paying. Despite the prevailing economic challenges, the support was there.
Such widespread participation not only highlighted interest and involvement at all levels, but created business opportunities, even if only seasonal for many people.
This is a logical conclusion based on the number of calypso tents which were judged, the juniors who got involved in the competitions reserved for them, as well as the growth in the Foreday Morning Jam and continued interest in today’s Kadooment. All the events would have required goods and services at all the stages.
The innovations and benefits can best been seen with the segmentations through the weekend of steel pan music and the mix of cricket and calypso. The absolute explosion of steel pan highlights its acceptance at all strata of society while the overwhelming response to the inaugural Caribbean Premier League has shown that there is real potential in calypso and exhilarating cricket.
The Barbados Tourism Authority has new opportunities to exploit in its quest to lure more people here.
We can look with confidence to next year’s festival, not only to boost arrivals and foreign exchange, but to also develop new skills and give greater exposure to local talent. The potential is there and the benefits are unlimited.