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Crop-Over commitment

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart hugging band leader Gwyneth Squires after the Crop-Over Breakfast Show while Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley looks on.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today called for long-term commitments from sponsors and stakeholders in the Crop-Over Festival if it is to continue to be successful.

Stuart, speaking during this morning’s Crop-Over Breakfast Show at the Hilton Hotel, noted the role the festival played as a major revenue generator for the island.

Adding that there were many ancillary businesses that benefited from the annual festival, the Prime Minister in a segment of the launch called “Headline News”, underscored the importance of revenue generation during the island’s main festival.

“Crop-Over is an outstanding event where both large and small suppliers share in the benefits that flow from the influx of visitors, whether they are Barbadians returning home or first time or repeat visitors. Our cultural and creative industries have contributed to the proliferation of services which have expanded employment opportunities especially for young persons.

“A number of event organisers and promoters, lighting and sound companies, and tent rental companies just to name a few, have mushroomed in recent years to service the Crop-Over Festival, giving our young people more opportunities to use their vast array of skills. There are also several temporary jobs created in catering, event management, security companies, calypso tents, band houses and transportation, all because of the Crop-Over Festival,” he said.

While the festival represented $80 million in earnings, he said it was largely the enterprising businesses and not the organisers, the National Cultural Foundation, directly that were the beneficiaries.

“We are told the businesses like boutiques and the hair and nail salons are always happy to know that Crop-Over is coming around because the ladies, and I dare say some gents too, make sure that they prepare for the various events. That is economic activity created with the small business persons during this time which redounds to the overall economic activity across Barbados and benefits the country as a whole. That is why we need the partnership of you the sponsors in this Crop-Over activity to make it work for all Barbadians,” said Stuart.

The planning and execution of the festival was not simple, he added, and it called for the involvement of stakeholders to make it successful. Additionally, he told sponsors that the costs associated with the festival expanded each year and even so no effort must be spared to ensure the benefits and the returns were higher than the costs.

“As we prepare for Crop-Over 2013, we are confident that it will be even bigger and better than Crop-Over 2012 and will leave a lasting impression at the local, regional and international levels. Your sponsorship is vital to the success of this festival. As sponsors, you understand that the cultural industries are of major social, political and economic significance to our country…

“Long-term commitments from all stakeholders are needed if we are to achieve our goals in making the Crop-Over Festival represent the best of Barbados in all of its facets,” the prime minister noted. (LB)

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