Cultural services provide one of the biggest potentials to improving the economies of the Caribbean.
This statement was expressed recently by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean during a courtesy call from UNESCO Consultant, Andrew Senior, at her Ministry’s headquarters in Culloden Road.
Stating that Government had flagged the cultural industries as a critical sector for development, McClean added that culture was one of seven priority sectors that CARICOM had identified.
According to her, the region had taken this sector so seriously that a Regional Task Force on Cultural Industries was established in 2008 to develop a comprehensive Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan for the Cultural Industries in CARICOM.
The UNESCO consultant was in Barbados conducting research for a new European Union funded programme aimed at determining what type of technical and economic assistance was needed in 12 undisclosed countries for developing the creative and cultural sectors.
Senior said his research showed that the industry was characterised by micro and small businesses “with international persons or agencies looking into see what they could get … and commercial entities did not regard culture in economic terms”.
McClean acknowledged that Barbados and CARICOM were small marketplaces that were focusing on building hemispheric relations.
Furthermore, she noted that with the European Partnership Agreement, Barbados and the region now had increased scope for opportunities within the sector.