As it prepares to slash the workforce and fold its national broadcaster into a state information agency, the Government is “actively” considering granting more television and radio licences, according to Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs, Senator Lucille Moe.
Moe sought to project the licensing as a means to boost the economy as she addressed the launch of a new television programme to air on the same national broadcaster – CBC.
“My ministry is cognizant of the fact that the audiovisual sector has a significant foreign exchange earning capacity and could therefore contribute tremendously in the revival of the economy. As result, we are actively considering issuing more television and radio licences since broadcasting can provide a viable avenue for employment. This would be in keeping with the Government’s policy of decreasing unemployment levels through entrepreneurship,” Senator Moe said.
The minister, a long-time regional political consultant, adding that local productions had the potential to earn foreign exchange if they were distributed internationally. But she said this could only be done by becoming more innovative and producing material not only with local content but also of a high quality.
Senator Moe was speaking at the launch of a new television series, sponsored by cement maker Arawak Company Limited, this morning at the Small Business Development Centre, Fontabelle.
The “Home Sweet Home Makeover Show” is a three-episode series chronicling how one family, the Greenes of Belleplaine, St. Andrew, go from living in a cramped house to one built to their specific needs by a number of businesses. It was produced by local company Blue Waters Productions to air on CBC TV8 on November 14, 21, and 28, at 8:30 each night.
The minister also suggested that international distribution of Barbadian tv shows had the ability to impact positively on Barbados’ tourism product. She pointed out that partnerships with external producers needed to be enhanced so that local companies could become more skilled and financially viable. Senator Moe also noted that such initiatives had been put in place under the Cultural Industries Development Act.
Commending the Arawak Cement Company Limited and other partners for investing in the production of the Home Sweet Home show, she said that it not only entertained but provided viewers with tips and invaluable ideas on design, construction, landscaping and décor when undertaking their own projects.
“This initiative which will commence on November 14, demonstrates a very high level of corporate social responsibility by Barbados businesses. As you can appreciate these are very trying economic times so this is an extremely heartwarming gesture,” Senator Moe stated.
On the very day it was revealed that the national broadcaster’s workforce would be slashed by more than half, the Information Minister said she was “pleased” with the CBC’s involvement.
“At this juncture, I really must thank the CBC management and staff for their dedicated service to Barbadians and the promotion of things Barbadian over the years. I, personally, would like to see our Barbadian content distributed regionally and I am positive that a restructured CBC will do all in its power to ensure that the local producers can be afforded the exposure that they require to promote themselves and their work.”
She also praised Blue Waters Productions, owned by public relations consultant Alison Saunders-Franklyn for “outstanding work over the last decade”.
She said its productions, including the full-length drama feature Hit for Six, the reality-based contest Bank on Me and the historical documentary Panama Dreams provided Barbadians “with some compelling images of ourselves and pride in our Barbadian culture”.