Protecting festival brand
Government is looking seriously at licensing the Crop Over brand to stop those entities which refuse to put money back into the festival but use it to successfully market their goods.
Reiterating that he had no apologies for reiterating this stance, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said such a licence could become a reality soon.
“I have made no apologies about it because I’ve said that part of the strategy must be that we need to protect the Crop Over brand and do so by some means of a licensing arrangement . . . so that if you use the Crop Over brand then you should pay something for it. That may very well become a reality,” he told the WEEKEND NATION during the monthly Editors’ Forum at the NATION’s Fontabelle, St Michael complex on Wednesday.
“I must say that since I have been the Minister of Culture, there have been a number of very key sponsors. I call them recurring sponsors, who have kept faith with the festival and certainly kept faith with their national responsibility in ensuring they invest in Crop Over and also gain the benefits, but there are others who gain the benefits from Crop Over but who, to my mind, do not share some of the proceeds by investment and sponsorship,” he told NATION journalists.
Noting that Crop Over generated well over $80 million in economic activity, according to research nearly a decade ago, Lashley said the festival, now in its 40th year, was of immense benefit to the economy and generated employment in what was traditionally a slow tourist period.
“It attracts visitors to Barbados and of course it creates a lot of spend for Barbadian businesses,” he added, also noting that he had sounded appeals for the past two years for companies to put back money into the festival.
The minister also said he was keen on formalising legislation to erase the yearly difficulties which promoters and bandleaders get in securing permits for Crop Over events.
Calling the issue “a challenge”, Lashley said he was hopeful “in the not-too-distant future” to bring special Crop Over legislation similar in purpose to the sunset legislation that had emerged from the 2007 Cricket World Cup in Barbados.
“I call it special legislation because it will be in place for all Crop Over where we will have permits being issued from a centralised location to remove some of the challenges and bureaucracy associated with going to the police, fire service and various organisations, and oftentimes being frustrated by unneccesary red tape,” he explained.
“I hope to be able to speak to that in further detail very shortly,” he said.