Disappointed! That is the word to describe Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley’s feeling on the lack of support from the private sector for Crop Over 2015.
Lashley said that although he had given ample notice about one Cavalcade this year, there was still little response from the private sector.
“You would recall that last year when we announced that the NCF [National Cultural Foundation] would only be having one Cavalcade, they were members of the private sector who said that if they knew beforehand they would come on board and stage more Cavalcades.
“This year in January I gave ample notice that the NCF would only be having one Mega Cavalcade and I was waiting anxiously, with bated breath, to see members of the private sector coming on board. To date there has not been a take-up of that,” Lashley said.
He was speaking to the media at the launch of the 2015 Christ Church Carnival last Thursday at Wotton Playing Field. Lashley stressed that it could not be left up to the NCF alone to create the pre-Crop Over buzz.
“It is not going to be left only to the NCF to spur the kind of excitement and the introductory part of Crop Over. It really has got to be where the private sector comes on board, and lends its voice, its money and its support to that,” the minister stated.
Lashley says the NCF already produces 30 plus events for the season and needs some help.
“I must say that I’m disappointed that we have not seen the private sector coming on board, and it really cannot be left only to the NCF. They produce 30 events for Crop Over already, and they are some, who would say that the NCF should try to push some of that onto the private sector. But we need to see a more responsive private sector and I hope that
I don’t have to make the call again next year.
“But I must say that I am disappointed that the private promoters and the private sector have not responded to my call to get some more Cavalcades.
However, Lashley did commend those sponsors who had come aboard to assist this year. He said that as a major festival, which has done great things over the years, it needed to be rewarded with more direct funding from both Government and private sector.
“. . . In relation to what the Government does, we need to do even more with regard to the funding of Crop Over. I’m not only talking about the private sector. I am talking about the Government itself. We have to see Crop Over as a festival that requires that kind of support.
“In the last Central Bank reports, the statistics tell us that Crop Over generates US$50 million a year. That tells me that Crop Over deserves to be rewarded with more direct funding from both the private sector and the Government,” Lashley reiterated.