It is important that Barbadians develop more community-based festivals.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley made this assertion over the weekend at the 2013 Oistins Fish Festival.
He stated that Government was implementing a policy to develop the cultural industries, adding that “community-based festivals have the effect of bringing members of those communities closer together, increasing social cohesion and strengthening identities”.
Acknowledging that these activities also provided a means for income generation, he said: “It is important that we develop more festivals … so that more opportunities are provided for local artists and craftpersons, especially the younger, emerging ones to have an outlet for their cultural products and services.”
Praising the organisers of the festival for “36 years of producing this successful event”, he said founder of the initiative, the late Prime Minister, Sir Harold “Bree” St. John, would be proud to see that it now has a brand.
The minister also praised Sir Harold’s widow for her “unwavering dedication” to the event. He said: “He [Sir Harold] would also be proud to know that his widow, who throughout the years shared his enthusiasm and vision for the festival …, continued her commitment to the sustainability of the festival. For this, Barbados owes her a debt of gratitude – Stella, Lady St. John, thank you for your hard work!”
He added that the festival “has matured into an enjoyable, family oriented event” and outlined that it also benefited the local hospitality sector and the location enhanced the island’s tourism product.
“Certainly, outside of the annual festival, Oistins on a Friday night has become an extremely alluring and lucrative attraction for both locals and tourists. It certainly enhances the visitor’s experiences, giving them an opportunity to savour our seafood and various types of fish prepared as only Barbadians can prepare them,” Lashley said.