Cabinet has just approved long-mooted legislation to help the local cultural industry and it will be implemented early in the life of a re-elected Democratic Labour Party government.
Minister of Family, Culture Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made that announcement tonight when the DLP held a youth rally at Ellerton playing field, St. George.
The Christ Church West Central candidate also urged Barbadian young people to ignore the advances of the Barbados Labour Party in the current general election campaign and focus on the party that had implemented a National Youth Policy after consultation with Bajan youth.
“I want to announce to all of the artistes, all of the cultural practitioners tonight that only on Thursday at the Cabinet of Barbados we approved the Cultural Industries Development Bill, a bit of legislation … that is revolutionary,” Lashley said.
“We have heard a lot of talk from people like Mia Mottley and Owen Arthur and in this election they will tell you about their interest in the cultural industries and that they will do this and they will do that for cultural practitioners.
“I am saying to you tonight that they had 14 years to put in place a Cultural Industries Development Bill, a bill that will for the first time create incentives and tax breaks for people involved in culture and the creative arts in Barbados.”
The DLP representative said it took his party only five years to “consult widely with all concerned and I am happy to say to you that without a lot of long talk we have a completed and approved Cultural Industries Bill.”
“And as soon as you have re-elected this Democratic Labour Party government to office on the 21 of February one of the first bills before the House of Assembly will be the Cultural Industries Development Bill, which will be passed in Parliament and which will help to stimulate employment for young people in Barbados. That is what I call progressive action,” he said.
Lashley also told young people in the audience at Ellerton that the February 21 poll was “about the growth of the young people in Barbados, it is about your future and you have to take it seriously”.
“This Government, this Democratic Labour Party government, led by Freundel Stuart has within its bosom a number of creative and talented and serious persons, who are dedicated to working with you. I urge you tonight to go out in your numbers and vote for the Democratic Labour Party,” he urged.
One of the reasons he said young people should favour the DLP was because of its National Youth Policy, which he said “is in fact a live policy, it has already been proclaimed, it has been approved by the Cabinet of Barbados, it has been approved by the Parliament of Barbados and it is now a document that is being implemented”.
“I want to say to you who have to vote for the first time in this election that this National Youth Policy must be seen as a deciding factor in this election. The reason why we had to put in place a National Youth Policy is because the Barbados Labour Party neglected the young people of this country and did not for 14 years see it fit to put in place a National Youth Policy,” he stated.
“And all the talk about youth unemployment, getting youth involved in entrepreneurship, ensuring that youth can be involved in culture, ensuring that youth can be involved in sport, that has been simply talk by the Barbados Labour Party.
“But in this … National Youth Policy document we have not just put in place a document, this document was put in place after a very wide consultation process with you the young people of Barbados and everything written in here has been as a result of the input of the youth of Barbados and therefore we have not entered this election on the basis of a policy that has not received the approval of the young people of Barbados,” Lashley added.
He also had some advice for those youth who were not keen to vote in the upcoming election.
“I know some of the you have said that you do not plan to vote, but if you refuse to vote in this election after working so hard with us to put this document in place you will be ensuring that this document becomes a still born document because the Barbados Labour Party does not have any intention of putting in place any progressive policies for the youth of Barbados,” the DLP candidate stated. (SC)