Veteran entertainer Anthony Gabby Carter has appealed for more investment in the cultural industries in Barbados, while suggesting that the island stood to significantly increase its earnings.
Gabby, who along with fellow entertainers Alison Hinds-Walcott and Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire were officially bestowed with their instruments of appointment as Cultural Ambassadors by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last night, argued that “every dollar we put in culture we get back six, which means we are doing what we are supposed to be doing and I want to see more and more funds being given to culture so that we can take it where we want it to go because I know we can do it for Barbados,” Gabby said.
The ten-time calypso monarch, who was previously designated a cultural ambassador back in 2004 also quipped: “It is sweeter the second time around.
“I would like to thank the Government and the people of Barbados for this great honour,” he added.
While accepting his honour, another ten-time monarch, Red Plastic Bag argued that all Barbadians should see themselves as cultural ambassadors for the country.
“I think it is very important that no matter where we go across the world that we represent our country to the best of our ability,” he said while Hinds-Walcott pledged to continue her work in the development of the industry.
“This means a lot to me to be recognized for doing what I love, for representing this tiny, but beautiful and strong island however I can wherever I go,” she said.
Also addressing the small gathering was Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who acknowledged that the cultural and creative industries were major contributors to the country’s economic and social development.
“As we move forward as a nation, we are reminded of the need to pay attention to the development of our cultural heritage. “This suggests that there are some areas, which transcend the purely economic dimension and add to our growth as a people that need our priority attention.
“The decision to accord priority to these areas will strengthen our national and cultural identity and enhance our position on the global stage,” he added.
Stuart also urged young upcoming artistes to follow in the footsteps of the three honourees.
“We can all be proud of these great citizens of Barbados. Each one of them has brought his or her individual capacity and capability to bear on the cultural development of this island. They have brought us goodwill in the past and I know they will bring good to this nation in the future.
“Their commitment and dedication and their strengths, consistency and versatility, as well as their focus, are all characteristics to be emulated by our young people, especially those in the cultural field,” he added.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley was also full of praise for the Cultural Ambassadors while suggesting that
a new economic frontier was on the horizon for the island.
“There is no doubt that in recent years we have seen a more focused and streamlined approach to the development of cultural and festival tourism products and an expansion of the creative entrepreneurship class.
“This development has allowed for the production of intellectual products, not only locally, but on the world stage therefore putting this country on the map.
“In all of this, we will need the support of a cadre of cultural ambassadors with a shared purpose of moving us into this new economic frontier,” Lashley said.
“This evening’s event is but one representation of our efforts as a Government, to mirror that commitment to country and to the cultural and creative industries, as we follow the already trodden path into this new frontier of exploring and expanding other avenues for revenue generation for the Barbados economy,” he said.
During the three-hour ceremony which registered poor attendance, a female cohort consisting of Nikita, Mahalia of the musical band Two Mile Hill and Faith Callender performed some of the Soca Queen’s Alison Hinds-Walcott’s greatest hits, such as Faluma, Roll It and Togetherness.
Rising stars Jamal Slocombe and Mandisa also recreated the iconic moment when Hinds-Walcott and John King copped top honours in the 1992 Caribbean Song Festival with Hold You In A Song.
The Marlon Legall Project, Kellie Cadogan, Kareem Agard, Ian iWeb Webster and Dionne Timothy also performed a medley of Gabby’s most popular songs, while
seasoned performers Adrian Clarke, Donella, iWeb and Adrian Green brought the audience to its feet with some of Red Plastic Bag’s best hits , such as Boat Ride, Spontaneous, I Love It, Ragga Ragga and Volcano.