Don’t let precious funding go to waste, says Holder
With approximately $50 million up for grabs under the Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy, Lynette Holder, the chairperson of pillar five of the strategy, has issued a challenge to creative industry stakeholders not to let it go back to the donors.
In fact, Holder said she was looking forward to receiving funding proposals following a stakeholder consultation today with creative sector representatives at the Cave Hill School of Business (CHSB).
Addressing day two of the consultation, Holder pointed out that the HRD Strategy, which is funded by the European Union (EU), had a similar intent as the Cultural Industries Act to advance the country’s competitiveness and identify sectors to do so.
“But equally it has millions of dollars that need to be spent,” she said.
“You can tell me you care for me, you can stand up and speak and pontificate about policies but if you do not have the financial resources to make it happen, it just won’t,” Holder told the consultation. “It will simply be a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal, said the Scripture, and therefore with $50 million for the whole project, I suggest to the stakeholders in this room, that there is a need for us to develop the projects that can draw down on these funds.”
Holder therefore recommended that coming out of today’s forum, there should be “some action” and “some projects” implemented so the funds could be utilized.
“Otherwise, Barbados will continue on the trajectory that it has been known for, which is not using the donor funds that come to our shores, and these monies go back to the donors. We have developed, it would appear, that reputation in other spheres. Let it not happen with the Human Resource Development Strategy,” urged Holder.
Acknowledging the relationship between the cultural industries and the education and tourism sectors, Holder said a stronger partnership was required between those in the creative industries to help further the development of entrepreneurship and drive the desired growth in the economy.
Holder said she was also hoping that the recently implemented Cultural Industries Development Authority would work with business agencies, including the Small Business Association, “to train and provide an opportunity for potential small business persons and entrepreneurs to get involved” in the creative sector.
Though not specifying, Holder described some traditional industries as “sunset industries”, saying they no longer had “the viability to take our economy to the next level of growth and development”.
“So we have to be looking at new ones and the cultural industries definitely represent what we now consider a sunrise industry, and therefore the potential for entrepreneurial activities,” she said.
During the consultation, officials focused on pillar five of the HRD Strategy which aims to enhance research to improve innovation, entrepreneurship and development capacity.
The HRD Strategy 2011-16, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education, focuses on five main pillars.