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$50m. for cultural industries

Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, says Government is committed to establishing a special $50 million fund over a five-year period to develop the cultural industries.

He further announced that the fund would be activated through the Cultural Industries Development Bill.

Lashley made these announcements today while addressing the Caribbean Entertainment and Cultural Industry Summit at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael. He noted that Government had a clear vision for the creative sector and had put in place a policy framework for the cultural industry.

The Christ Church West Central MP argued that the cultural industries were a tool and vehicle for positive social and economic development.

“The Government recognises that the cultural industries must be elevated and treated as a dynamic catalyst for the development of a diversified economy,” he said. “We have therefore embarked on the development of this sector through a programme of infrastucture building, institutional strengthening, focused development expenditure and fiscal incentives supported by necessary legislation.”

Lashley explained that the Cultural Industries Development Bill was intended to provide fiscal incentives as well as tax and duty free concessions. He further explained that there was a provision for a Cultural Industries Fund that would be accessed by registered artistes and cultural workers.

Lashley stated that the proposed amendments to the Cultural Industries Development Bill, arising from consultations and various meetings, were currently receiving the attention of the chief parliamentary counsel. The Christ Church West Central MP said it was hoped that the improved bill could be submitted to Cabinet before the end of this year.

Lashley contended that when the bill becomes law, it would contribute significantly to the development of Barbados’ highly talented human resources. He announced that Barbados had already produced five music artistes signed to major international record labels.

Lashley gave the assurance that Government stood ready to provide the requisite enabling environment to facilitate the artistes’ success. He said: “The entertainment and the cultural industries is a multi-billion dollar industry that if tapped aggressively can make the difference in our quest as a nation to be less dependent on traditional areas of economic activity. It can grow for us more foreign exchange and offer hope of lasting engagement and employment to our youth.” (NC)

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