An increased private sector partnership is needed to support the Crop-Over festival.
So said Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Cranston Browne, as he addressed festival partners at the opening of Barbados’ newest entertainment venue PLAE – Play, Lounge, Advertisement and Entertainment – at Balls Plantation in Christ Church.
Congratulating CEO of PLAE, Lionel Eastmond, Browne said that the opening of the facility on the brink of the start of the Crop-Over season was indeed timely and heart-warming, “especially in these harsh economics times”.
However, he stated that increased private sector involvement through sponsorship and investments in the festival played a pivotal role in the festival’s sustainability and continued growth since the foundation could not do it alone.
Browne said: “The Crop-Over festival is not only about jumping up and singing calypso but it is actually about sustaining a number of businesses in this country. Therefore we cannot allow the festival to fail or in any way feel the full effects of this downturn in the economy. We have to support it because too many businesses are dependent on it.
SDLqCrop-Over is not just a carnival, it can be viewed as an economic pillar in the life of the Barbadian economy. We have an initiative where we are looking to partner with investors with some of our events. We are exploring avenues how we can involve private promoters and make the Crop-Over festival a beneficial avenue for economic activity.”
With the highest numbers of visitors to the island said to be during the last week of the season, and the festival contributing around $80 million to the Barbados economy annually, he added: “There is no questioning of the importance of the festival as an economic stimulus for the local commerce.
“Throughout the season many companies rely heavily on the sustainability of the festival in order to keep their business doors opened. So we need to really make sure Crop-Over is a success.”
The new CEO explained that the NCF was working towards implementing a desk designed to assist local private promoters who experience problems obtaining certain permissions to host events. These events, Browne noted, also contributed to the overall intake of the festival.
In recent times, however, a number of promoters had expressed frustration because of the difficulty they faced. Mindful of this, the NCF will create a desk at its offices as a one-stop shop, where promoters could go to get assistance obtaining permission from police, fire and town planning agencies for fetes.
“All the other obstacles that they were experiencing over the last year or two, the NCF is looking to alleviate,” he promised. (KC)