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EDITORIAL: All must be aboard for Crop Over

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: All must be aboard for Crop Over

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Barbados will soon be in Crop Over mode again and from all indications so far from Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, the annual festival is shaping up to be another good one.
There is no doubt about the contribution of the annual festival to the economy of Barbados.
Addressing a recent Editors’ Forum put on by The Nation Publishing Co. Limited, the Minister noted that research nearly a decade ago showed that Crop Over generated well over $80 million in economic activity. In addition to that, the festival helps to create some jobs in what is usually a slow tourist season.
It is for this very reason, coupled with the fact that Crop Over is now in its 40th year, that the powers that be need to not only preserve, but to protect what is ours.
It was somewhat shocking to learn that after all these years, the Crop Over brand has never been licensed.
And at a time when intellectual property is so valuable and when branding and marketing are valuable commercial tools, we must ensure that our cultural patrimony is not further eroded.
It was Mr Lashley himself who said that Government was now looking seriously at licensing the brand to stop those who use it to successfully market their products.
We couldn’t agree more with this move, albeit a little too late in the making.
Crop Over is our own indigenous festival and every effort should be made to guard it.
Corporate Barbados must also play its part in safeguarding the festival. In these tough times sponsorship is a little more difficult to come by, but we must all still look to play our part in ensuring that the festival is a success. Money spent in sponsorship reaps dividends for the sponsors.
It was, therefore, heartening when after an announcement by Mr Lashley that there would be no cavalcades this year, some stakeholders as well as corporate Barbados stepped forward and gave money to ensure that there would be at least one cavalcade for the season. This event came off last Friday night at Queen’s Park and from all indications it was a success.
We need to have more people on board recognising the benefits of the festival not only to our economy, but to our history and culture.
It is for this very reason that we join with the Minister in appealing to companies to put back money into the festival.
We also eagerly await the promised Crop Over legislation which will govern the festival in the future.
While the Minister said this would hopefully be in place next year, we urge Government not to drag its feet on this proposal, since such streamlining of the festival could only augur well for the country.