The National Cultural Foundation is to be restructured as Government moves to get the best out of Barbados’ cultural sector.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley identified this strategy as one of those to be taken by the current administration as it strives to transform the economy on a foundation of new pillars including culture.
The Christ Church West Central MP made the statement last night during his contribution to Estimates Debate in the House of Assembly.
“Throughout the course of this term there will be a number of strategies designed to position a number of our agencies to deliver on the goals that we have and those strategies will see the restructuring of agencies such as the National Cultural Foundation, which will be restructured to become more relevant to where we are taking the whole question of the development of culture from the community level,” Lashley said.
“The proposed Cultural Industries Development Bill will focus our attention on the creative sector and growing the cultural industries and will put in place a specific … corporate entity to monitor that development and to obviously work with our creatives and so on.”
He told the House that having consulted widely government was “determined very shortly to bring that bill before this House for debate and I will wait for the opportunity to debate in more detail that bill which we are bringing to this House”.
Lashley said the measures in the 2013-2014 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure were designed to “reconstruct the economy of Barbados and to pave a road and a path by which we will diversify the economy of Barbados for the first time”.
“The business of expansion and diversifying our economy cannot be based on traditional industries and we recognise that and that is why the whole focus of this Appropriation Bill has been on creating new avenues for economic and social development in Barbados,” he stated.
“We have already examined many of the issues which we have to examine in relation to restructuring our economy and we are saying that this opportunity that we have to actually look at new areas of investment and attracting new areas of economic and social development must be one in which we don’t see it based on a partisan position.
“This is one in which we want to see the Barbados Labour Party reaching across the divide as they are asking to join with the government in this very innovative strategy, a strategy that while they did not follow it we are now poised to follow it.
“And therefore we believe that this is the path on which we can strengthen our economic pillars, we believe that in the critical area of culture, sports, and youth that we will be able to generate that much needed value added to strengthen our economy and to create the opportunities that our young people in particular yearn for, but we must understand that we have to pursue new vistas in order to achieve the kind of economic growth that we wish to achieve in this country,” the minister added. (SC)