Culture has lots to offer
I HAD SOME doubts about the cultural industries and the creative sector as a money earner given our historical approach to this segment of the society.
I honestly did not see it as part of the economy, perhaps because I am old-fashioned. But, I must admit that I have had to change my mind given the spend I have closely watched in this sector over the past year.
The events, whether from Christmas Jazz to the reggae show held in December to the Reggae Festival to Crop Over and all the others in between would indicate that there is a strong economic link for a cross section of Barbadians. The spin-off is now much clearer to see and understand.
The hair stylists, the clothing retail outlets, the taxi operators, the security firms, the food vendors, the radio and television stations, the newspapers, VAT and the providers whether as stage and production crew will all gain from these events. I, however, would like to see even more benefit.
We must train a wider cross section of people to become producers, sound and lighting technicians, even coordinators and people who will get into costing and auditing such events.
We also need proper venues and I do not believe that this initiative should fall squarely and or solely to the Government.
There must be a level of risk by private entrepreneurs who must see the possible returns on investment.
If we get first-class venues then there is the possibility of widening the scope and type of events being staged. What many may now turn away from such as light classical, country and western, an evening with modern pop music could all find a place in society.
The one area which I believe we ought to pay much greater attention to in Barbados is theatre which offers tremendous job opportunities for a very wide range of people.
But, we need to ensure we train those who are interested to the highest level and also that they get the right exposure.
The development of the cultural sector could redound in a significant way to boosting the tourism sector and if promoted correctly could attract visitors from the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad.
– MICHAEL CLARKE