The cultural industry is perhaps the only bright light on an otherwise dull economic landscape.
Parliamentary representative for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds, made this assertion today in the House of Assembly while speaking on the Second Reading of the Economic Partnership Agreement Bill.
Stressing the important role the cultural industry will play in a restructured Barbados economy, Symmonds said:
“You only have to look across at Jamaica and to see the extent to which Jamaica’s creativity and cultural product has captured the imagination and attention of the entire globe.”
The St James Central MP pointed out that Caribbean negotiators had to test European commitment to their declaration that they were seeking to build prosperity in the former colonies under the EPA.
“When the Europeans said in Lome 1, 2, 3, 4 that they will build out cultural co-operation, we felt they had to ensure that they put their money where their mouth was and prove their commitment in unleashing the potential in the cultural industry. That in my judgement is one of the most important parts of this partnership agreement.
“It is a sad state of affairs of this Government that last week when this debate was led off, the Minister of Finance spoke for two hours and did not once venture into the specifics of the cultural protocol.
“Not once did he indicate how the protocol would impact on the economic development of the country,” Symmonds said.
He contended that the EPA was a major breakthrough which would ensure that the Europeans liberalise their cultural sector.
“When we speak to them on the liberalisation of culture, we were asking them to do that which was unprecedented, not in the history of modern Europe, but in the history of Europe.
“We were speaking to a continent which had been built on cultural superiority and perfection. And we were asking them to do something they had never done before with any country or entity on earth and to an extent that they had never done with any entity.
“They did something that was fundamental to their sense of self and the raison d’etre of their sense of being,” Symmonds explained.