Cultural practitioners might have a chance to return to work if the new Cultural Industries Development Bill also provides funding for the sector.
St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde made this observation as she supported the bill noting that there were a lot of practitioners for whom the economic crisis had proven difficult.
“What is happening with these cultural practitioners who have been reliant on activities, funding and so to sell their wares and to perform in order for them to survive. We know that there are entertainers and others who did not have a steady job to be going to an office every day and doing work, but they relied on the hotel sector and other festivals and so in order to survive.
“The result of this economic crisis a lot of them are unable to work, pay their bills, as they did before because business is so slow, or I believe, business is dead. I believe this bill coming here should be able to assist our entertainers in going forward again, as long as proper funding is put in place to assist them,” she said.
“Where the funding will come from, I don’t know, but I would like to encourage the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Honourable Minister of Tourism and indeed the Honourable Minister of Youth Affairs and Culture to get their heads together and let us get life back into the hands of those people who help to entertain the locals and their families and society,” she stated.
Forde added that she thought it was significant that the debates referred to the number of areas in which culture had shown a capacity, such as in sports where persons like Sir Garfield Sobers in cricket, and Obadele Thompson and Ryan Brathwaite in athletics had proven the kinds of funding that culture and sports could bring.
In culture and health, she said she believed it would bring into question issues like healthy living and healthy lifestyles, teaching the importance of proper meals and complementary medicine.
Culture as well had infused values into society as far as respect for men and women were concerned, and respect for the elderly as well.
She said she believed there was room for a lot of culture to go more into the communities to teach such things as stiltwalking, tuk band, landship, adding that it was possible for young people to succeed and progress through culture. (LB)