A call has been issued for Government to urgently put in place a system to allow Barbadian entertainers easier access to financing to help push their products overseas.
Opposition MP Santia Bradshaw, an entertainment attorney, said the cost of accessing the European market was very high and many artistes had not been able to meet the requirements for funding by the Barbados-based Caribbean Export.
In her contribution to the House of Assembly today on the Economic Partnership Agreement Bill, Bradshaw said this issue had limited the ability of artistes to benefit from the EPA.
“An artiste who wants to be able to take his service and be able to perform in the European community cannot freely go to Caribbean Export and apply for funding without fulfilling certain criteria. He will first have to incur the cost of incorporation. He will either have to be associated with an established company carrying out certain services and there is a provision for you to be in the business for at least two years,” she said.
“There needs to be some degree of urgency as it relates to identifying for the creative sector ways in which there is access to funding and funding, not just a carte blanche approach, but it has to be specific and you have to have persons who understand not only the European market but the type of creators you have in the industry and the type of opportunities that exist in order for us to take advantage of what may meet us on the horizon in the European community,” said Bradshaw, the St Michael South East parliamentary representative.
She said the absence of a cultural industries authority was also a hindrance to local entertainers interested in marketing themselves in Europe.
“This again is another failing of the Democratic Labour Party administration. 2008 is when this [EPA] document would have been signed and we are now in 2014. We are still no closer in the creative sector to having access to funding to be able to be able to exploit a number of the opportunities, not just opportunities that would have passed us by in the last six years, but opportunities that present themselves within this document,” Bradshaw said.