While acknowledging that the development of a cultural industry in Barbados was “buried deep within the bosom of the Barbados Labour Party”, St Michael South-East MP, Santia Bradshaw, threw her support behind the Cultural Industries Development Bill introduced in Parliament today by Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley.
In recognizing the part her party played in developing a cultural industry, Bradshaw said: “The minister was quick to acknowledge that the cultural industry was buried deep within the bosom of the BLP. He was also quick to make references to why the BLP failed to bring the piece of legislation to this Chamber before it left office in 2008 . . . .
“If I have to return to the origin of this legislation, I will be fair in my assessment of how this piece of legislation has come to be debated in this Chamber today. Quite simply, both political parties have their share of the burden why this legislation has only being brought to this Chamber after so many years.”
Charging that the BLP had led the way for the introduction of the bill, Bradshaw told the House that back in 2000, her party had recognized the need to diversify the Barabdos economy. Recognizing that the island could not continue as it had, she said, the BLP had made a move to rely on other sectors, and principal among those was the cultural industry.
“[F]rom very early on in the administration of the former Prime Minister of the BLP and the member for St Peter, he alluded to the fact that the cultural industries had the potential to be the new economic sector for the Barbadian economy and in so doing he did not talk the talk, but walked the walk. He went so far as to set up a Ministry of Culture within his Ministry of Finance,” Bradshaw added.
Bradshaw noted that not only did Owen Arthur do that, but he established a task force on culture which was also established to ensure that the stakeholders in the industry were brought together to inform what clearly could potentially be a new platform to the Barbadian economy.
“The BLP went further and what they did was set up an Arts And Sports Promotion Fund which I know members on the other side have even accessed for various sporting initiatives in the last few years. They lauded the efforts of the Arts And Sports Promotion Fund. However, many people did not access the funds. But the fact remains that the BLP did put in place certain machinery to be able to have a better appreciation of the nature of the industry with which it was dealing. The BLP did things on which a foundation was laid. We also saw the establishment of several funding agencies to assist the creative sector. The BLP realized that the creative industry was based on the fact that it needed significant capitalisation,” Bradshaw said. (NC)