Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture and Sports
It was interesting to note Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson’s perspective in the news last week about the importance of forging the creative/cultural industries and sport. She asserted that “these sectors have the potential to be important drivers of economic development.” Bear in mind Jamaica is light years ahead of all the countries in the Caribbean as far as leveraging theses two sectors. It is also noteworthy that Prime Minister Portia Simpson has responsibility for sports supported by a Junior Minister.
To Barbados’ credit we were informed in the lead up to the 2013 General Election that the Cabinet of Barbados approved the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB). It has been reported that the CIB will be one of the early bills to be read in parliament. It took five years to complete the consultative and drafting process and many of the stakeholders in the Arts sector now eagerly look forward to its implementation. However, others have reviewed the final draft and remain doubtful that it has the ‘meet’ to nurture and grow our nascent cultural industries.
One needs to go no further than page 8 of the CIB, “approved producer of audio-visual content means a film production company incorporated under the Companies Act…that is controlled by a resident of Barbados”. Does anyone believe any reputable film company is going to make films in Barbados with this precondition? What about non-Bajans who are resident in Barbados?
It is no secret that BU is very interested in Sports and Culture as a means to express their most unique talents and the economic benefit likely to accrue to individuals and country. The Sports and Cultural communities have been kicked about like the proverbial football for years by successive governments. It is time for it to stop.
The following was extracted from the Concerned Creative Citizens Group Facebook page. The images have been provided compliments of the indefatigable Rosemary Parkinson.
Alison Sealy-Smith, Senior Business, NCF in contention for CEO position
It is all very well to talk blithely about an “association” of artists and how it is to be non-governmental. But to leave it like that on the part of this group of concerned creatives is, frankly, completely inadequate.
Yes, I agree that if there is to be a serious arts and culture industry, there has to be an association, a non-government association acting as a union, of artists. That is an essential first step. If you take on board that all arts and culture starts (and ends) with the artists and creatives, then you must know that, without them, there is no “product” for the “entrepreneurs” to market and make a fortune on, while handing back a bare pittance to the artists and creatives. And the “entrepreneurs” have carefully brainwashed creatives into thinking that they are doing the creatives a favour, so that creatives are completely happy to peddle into Bridgetown on their bikes and tug their forelocks as the “entrepreneurs” pass in their new BMWs. A century ago, this was the case in the USA – and 90 years ago, it ceased to be the case. So, let us look at the history of trades union and guilds in the arts in other countries and see if there is a parallel to be found to Barbados.
Submitted by the Concerned Citizens Group
Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture
We are a group of creative Barbadians called the Concerned Creative Citizens Group. This group, made up of key members from various disciplines of our cultural community, was formed out of immense concern over the contents of the Cultural Industries Bill, which was being circulated by the Ministry of Culture a few months ago, with the intention of having it passed as a legal document. Our members are well versed in all aspects of culture and we went over the proposed Bill with a fine toothed comb, our efforts culminating with our recommendations being formally presented to the Ministry and addressed to Minister Stephen Lashley on April 30th 2012, via a hand delivered letter which outlined both the good points contained in the Bill as well as the serious flaws it possessed which we felt needed to be addressed.
Personal correspondence was then communicated between Minister Lashley and the group on several occasions, with one such letter assuring us that all submissions were being considered regarding proposed amendments to the Bill. A meeting was set up to discuss these proposed amendments between consultant representative of the Ministry of Culture Ms Andrea King and members of our group, which was also attended by UNESCO consultant Andrew Senior, who was purportedly hired by the Ministry of Culture to help with the Culture Industries Bill. At this meeting we were informed categorically by Mr. Senior that he was not involved in amendments to the Bill but was hired to advise government on ‘entrepreneurship’ in the culture industry of the island. We were, however, made more aware of the real purpose of the Bill, which we found appeared to have a high level of the principles of entrepreneurship at its core, and in our view was more focused on turning the cultural industries into a revenue earner for Government, and very much less on the inherent gains which should be derived from the Bill to the benefit of all creative practitioners in our country.
The Telegraph article highlighted the EU Office in Barbados
… £1.8million has been handed to the Caribbean island of Barbados to build a hotel and leisure complex where 200 youngsters will be trained each year in hospitality management. The revelations will intensify the row over the UK’s bloated aid budget, which will soon take up 0.7 per cent of our GDP at a time when vital public services are being pared to the bone…
In terms of GDP per capita, Barbados is wealthier than Portugal, Croatia and Hungary. But the EU has spent millions of pounds on the Hotel PomMarine complex, plus a forensic science laboratory, a language centre and support for the nation’s financial sector.
Mail Online (Daniel Martin)
The excerpt formed the lead stories in two of the United Kingdom’s leading dailies this week, the Mail Online and The Telegraph. One would never guess though if a half interested Barbadian scanned the local media.
Stephen Lashley, Minister of Sports and Culture
Currently, the sports and culture ministries fall under the same minister. In the minds of most Barbadians these two ministries rank poorly when compared to finance, economic affairs, health, education and foreign affairs. This is unfortunate, the ability of Barbados to sustain a lifestyle anchored in consumption requires a never ending quest to be competitive by fully developing all of our productive sectors.
The current reality which sees Barbados totally reliant on tourism in 2012 sums it up. On this note BU restates its support for Trevor Browne and Craig Archer who have taken on the Herculean task to oust the ensconced Steve Stoute and Erskine Simmons. And also call on Erskine ‘Boozer’ King, head of the national sports council, to step aside. With a new leadership in position at two of our critical sports authorities there is hope that a new dispensation will breed success.
Despite half billion investment in ‘traditional’ education annually by successive governments the potential of sports and culture remains hidden in the rough. An example of how serious we are about culture and how we treat with stakeholders in this sector can be seen in the initiative to find a solution for the restoration of the Empire theatre. One year later, nothing.
Barbados will host this year’s XV Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2012) from October 1 to 3, marking the first time ever that the event will be held in an English-speaking Caribbean country. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which this year will focus on innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship.
The news that Barbados will host this major event is good news. Up to now entrepreneurship has been a buzz word with little evidence that it has taken root in Barbados. We wish the organizers success and hope the stated objectives are achieved. Given the shift in the global economy post 2008 it must be evident that a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship will have to increase the contribution it is making to the local economy.
It is not widely known that the government of Barbados has contracted a consultant by the name of Andrew Senior to advise on the building out of the mooted ‘Cultural Industry’. Reasonable people appreciate the complexity of growing a culture industry, and the decision by Minister Stephen Lashley and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to request technical assistance from UNESCO and the EU by contracting Senior seems reasonable; on the surface.
Posted in Barbados, Barbados Government, Barbados News, Blogging, Culture
Tagged Andrew Senior, Andrew Senior Associates Ltd, Cultural and Creative Industry, Felipe Buitrago, KIVA, National Cultural Foundation, NCF, Stephen Lashley
The sights and sound…yes the pic is meant to arouse sensibilities on a Sunday morning
Barbados, like all of the other States in the Caribbean region has committed itself to protecting the rights of children through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (C.R.C.). Integral to this collection of rights are those geared at the protection of children who are abused, neglected or at risk of harm.
The story which continues to incense sensible Barbadians of a child being abused by two adults on Kadooment Day is rapidly reaching the end of the seven day period for top billing. Director of the Child Care Board (CCB) Joan Crawford, goaded by the public outcry, is quoted in the media that the widely circulated picture will be forwarded to the Police for investigation. Implied in the action by the CCB is that there is enough evidence to support a case of child abuse.
It was interesting to listen to Joan Crawford explaining that the picture does not expose the faces of the adults in the picture therefore it will be difficult to locate the individuals. Her apologetic observation begs the question, is Miss Crawford a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF)? She is obligated to report the matter and let the RBPF used its sleuthing skills to locate the individuals.
Standford C. Haynes creator of the Rock Hall statue
Saturday 11th August I happened to swerve into a gap off a main road in St. Thomas, just by chance…’twas a dead end…but…what I saw shocked the life outta me. A most amazing piece of work stood tall into the skies literally in the middle of nowhere. As I drew near I realized it was a statue of a man, woman and child with arms outstretched as if touching the heavens. I was totally taken aback. What was this gorgeous piece of work all about? On approaching…the first thing I noticed was the dilapidated state of this monument, its surroundings and its plaques…there were several. I managed to read one of them. Rock Hall was the area, Cynthia Forde (previous government) unveiled same, one Standford C. Haynes was the creator, it was bronzed in the UK. The plaque did not say whether Mr. Haynes was a Barbadian but with this name, I assumed he would be. And even if not, who cares. The images are simply stunning.
But here comes the sadness. They are in desperate need of a cleaning…I ent seh scrubbing dong…just a little cleaning. There are no benches or seating arrangements of any kind to be had for those who might like to relax and admire this work of art. I looked around and although there was a lovely green pasture, there was no sign that said I could picnic there if I wanted. Actually it looked like private property with some cows grazing and a lovely backyard garden…but for sure such a simple thing as a few little picnic tables would have been nice.
As I looked around, I came across two more plaques under some overhanging bush. One gave names of free slaves and the other (both sadly needing some repair) said the following:
Submitted by Hamilton Hill
The Bag wins number 10!
In the song “Congratulations” Adonijah makes the bold claim that the NCF picks judges who are blind. Since I know three of those that sat last evening, I can say to Ado, yah lie. Let me forget Ado for a sec and turn to the powers that be at the Normally Controversial Festival. How do you move the show to the gym and not tell the judges? We now know that they were at Kensington. Is what wrong wid all yah?
I confess that I saw the show through the trusted eyes of the Starcom team, and as a big time Bag fan I am happier this morning than Owen was when Mia agreed to fall in line. I am as happy as I am dumbfounded that Gabby came third. Gabby did not beat AC. Nor did he beat Popsicle, Chrystal, nor Adonijah, all of whom also kicked Ian Webster’s ass.
A sense of euphoria filled my soul when it dawned on me that the gift wrapped toilet-tissue was finally outta here. If in the final tabulation the last song performed brings up the rear of the pack, nuf nuf people would be mocking Gabby and singing the one line that made any sense from the nonsense he sang in the first half. “Oh God”. With the judges at de oval while the show was at de gym perhaps even De Announcer beat poor Chrystal Cummings-Beckles.
Submitted by Old Onions Bag
Barbados Superstar Rihanna ‘jumped’ in 2011
What you pay for, is what you get?
As promised I said I was going to write this one…a no brainer. Last price obtained for a band costume et al was $ 5oo flat…Horse shoed for real for that green. But has one ever wondered or done the calculations on this ask. What are you getting for your hard earned cash?
What you can see upfront of course….(no pun here) a lil pantsy and bra-D covered with beads and feathers from Samaroo’s here or in T&T..(either case forex outbound) cost of materials and time..give it $100 max. $120 if elaborate head gear. What else? Why there is security, $10, Admin $10,drinks $50,Food $20,Band party $ 25 and we being generous here.
How much that is let’s see…I make that $215- $235. Hmmm…nice bottom line of $285 per reveller. For a band of 2000 revellers , a nice profit of $570,000. Not bad for a budding entrepreneur planning to work three months a year.
But not being officious, people have been loving what they have been getting for years. Last reports the whole Sha Bangle is said to rake in $100 Million in economic activity….so who gives a care?
After all, the people do need to unwind and thereby releasing all pressures,so what if a few “blenzas” with it as well…… Long Live Crop Over!
Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture
A few weeks ago while listening to the highly entertaining and informative Fireworks Show on VOB radio, kudos to Dennis Johnson and Carol Roberts (in the PM), Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley called the program. During his contribution he voiced his displeasure at the low level of local music being played by local radio stations. BU is onside with the minister, we definitely need to make some ‘earth moving’ decisions about how we leverage the power of the airwaves to kickstart a revolution in local music which continues to endure labour pains.
It boggles the mind why a minister of government in 2012 should have to plead for Disc Jocks et al to play more local music for several reasons. The two reasons at the top of the BU pile:
It is approaching near 40 years since Crop Over was restarted and synonymous with the festival is the making of music, usually calypso. Through the years local entertainers have produced some wonderful music which to this day continues to thrill the locals and others abroad. BU conservatively estimate if we have produced 250 songs in the near 40 year period there is a calypso/soca repository of songs of about 9000+. Perhaps Dennis Johnson can tell us if this is not sufficient music to adequately fill the airwaves should we decide to make the push to GO 95% LOCAL. Imagine our horror to listen to the government owned station pushing hip hop two weeks ago by none other than Admiral who should know better!
This government is trapped like a rabbit in headlights when it comes to formulating a cultural policy, if the so-called cultural industries bill is meant to be its calling card. I won’t be too hard on them, since the previous government spent 14 years in office and also failed to come up. But that is history.
In simple terms, national culture is the nation speaking to itself; whether it be fine or performing arts, music, food, literature or any of the other facets of culture. This, somehow, has been lost on the prime minister who recently made rather disparaging remarks about literature and his parliamentary colleagues’ (for that see nation) ability to absorb high art.
Devising a Policy:
We already have two powerful cultural vehicles which should be driving out cultural policy. CBC, which for some reason a number of business people want to get their hands on, and the National Cultural Foundation, should work in tandem to drive forward policy. The problem is that there is no policy for the two bodies to champion; on culture, as in most other things, government has run out of ideas.
However, if we were to look at the key aspects of cultural policy, all the building blocks are there: literature, fine arts, sports, food, performing arts, etc. As a small island, we have produced some outstanding writers and at least one world-class poet.