Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King today threw his support behind changes that lawmakers are planning for the Act that governs the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.
A bill to amend the CBC Act that created the broadcaster in December 1963 seeks to abolish the top post of general manager and create chief executive and chief operating officers.
The bill also seeks to give the Minister for Broadcasting direct control over all appointments to the station’s management and staff.
But King was adamant that the changes must allow for the work of local creative people to be shown on the national television station.
The Minister said: “Imagine if you will our filmmakers finally having the opportunity to have their films shown on CBC TV; an opportunity that none of its competitors have at this point in time.
“We talk about cultural penetration. We talk about the way people are influenced by these outside.
“Let us use CBC as that entity that shows us the best of ourselves.”
The Minister of Culture said it is vitally important that “our own be reflected on our own broadcast company”.
He added: “It is going to be very important that our creative people have the opportunity of being able to use that platform.
“We must be able to use to our advantage CBC to give them the exposure that is needed in a local market and once you do that you will also be able to inspire the next generation of great artistes for this country.
“That gives our entrepreneurs within the film industry, within music, within craft and design, an opportunity to use what is ours. It would give the general public an idea of what presently exists in Barbados.”
King reminded his colleagues that the ruling party’s Covenant of Hope speaks to creating a new national consciousness and suggested that CBC was one of the best avenues in which to start doing so.
He declared: “The time has come for us to get serious about something that was placed in the Covenant of Hope and that is the idea of creating a new national consciousness and if this entity CBC is not going to be at the forefront of creating that new national consciousness I would have to ask what relevance would it be.”
He continued: “For me this is a good day if we are going to seriously change its structure, change its format and change its purpose then the whole idea of it not being a profit-making entity becomes a little bit more balanced when you look at the other things it can do.”
The Minister said that the survival and success of CBC was not about making money but about a social responsibility to showcase our national identity.
He said: “You cannot always look at things in terms of dollars and cents. There are times when you have to look in terms of common sense.
“The common sense approach is to use this entity.
“In my mind a television station and radio station owned by Government must look at its responsibility in being able to be that catalyst for change, that catalyst for giving people identity, that catalyst of letting people see the very best of themselves.
“This presents us now with a new opportunity to do just that.”