Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley has defended the establishment of a separate entity to oversee the development of the cultural industries sector even as Government struggles to meet budget for existing statutory corporations.
Acknowledging that the Freundel Stuart administration was currently faced with financial challenges, Lashley told members of the media he would ensure the proposed Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority did not put further strain on the Treasury.
The other entity with responsibility for cultural development on the island is the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).
Lashley made the comments while speaking to members of the media following the launch of a Bridgetown And Its Garrison Map And City Guide at the Waterfront Café today.
The Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority will be established under the newly passed Cultural Industries Development Act to manage the cultural industries sector. Lashley did not say how soon that entity would be established.
“We are still committed to establishing the authority. The authority will be a very specialized organization,” he said.
“I agree there are financial challenges but how we propose to go about it will be done in a way that will be very sensitive to any additional financial call on the Government. So when you hear of the plans, we don’t plan to have a big authority.
“We will have an authority that meets the occasion of being prudent and being efficient in relation to utilizing resources. But we will be doing it in a way that will not create any excessive burden on the treasury,” added Lashley.
Lashley explained that the role of the NCF would become more “intensified” as it would be “more preoccupied” with cultural development.
He said the NCF would be more focused on developing various aspects of the sector including festivals, while the role of the authority would take on a wider focus.
He said the authority was “critical because of the specialized nature of the cultural industries”.
Among other things, the authority will be responsible for designing and implementing suitable marketing strategies for the effective promotion of the cultural industries; promote, assist and facilitate the development of the cultural industries; determine the eligibility of cultural projects for funding and process applications for concessions and benefits to be derived under the act.
Lashley said in addition, the authority would consist of a digitized registry of artiste as well as focus on the development of the film industry.
Lashley said he was depending on the cultural industries sector to be “a key underpinning peg upon which we will see growth” in the Barbados economy. (MM)
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