No ‘watering down’ of Crop Over

Lashley warns more cuts could yet be made to emancipation celebrations

This year’s Crop Over and Emancipation Day celebrations are already being hit by cuts, and Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley has warned that more may be on the horizon, even though he didn’t say by how much. However, he has given the assurance this would not result in any “watered down celebrations”.

Stephen Lashley
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley

Speaking this morning at a media conference to launch the Season Of Emancipation, Lashley did not give details about the cuts already determined or those that could come, but said the authorities would be more prudent in their spending.

“We have to become a more efficient country, and the Government has to lead in that respect. Today we are faced with new challenges, many of them labelled as fiscal challenges. The ability of the Government to continue along a path of seeking to develop Barbados while at the same time reminding Barbadians of the need to be more productive, and therefore [the] fiscal challenges that we face, requires us to be much more resilient and much more productive as a nation,” he told the media at his ministry’s Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall offices.

Lashley said the limitations provided the chance for people to be more productive.

“[It] is really an opportunity to remind us of the need to be innovative and to find new pathways to ensuring that our economy can rebound from the challenges that it faces now. Our economy is going through a complete restructuring, a complete overhaul. Things will never be the way that they were before.

“Therefore, those of us who are called to lead and who are very much part and parcel of the solution . . . all of us are called upon to look at Barbados through new eyes. Those new eyes have to be based on holding each other’s hands and resolving to approach our economic challenges by being more productive and being a bit more focused in creating solutions that are homegrown,” Lashley said as he spoke to the Social Identity-Renewal And Integrated Upliftment Strategy (SIRIUS) project which he believed was building those steps required to take Barbados from a consuming nation to a nation of innovators.

“We now have to be craftsmen of our own fate, and that programme is an example of what I am talking about. We talk about the Season Of Emancipation, [but] I would want Barbadians to internalize the true meaning of freedom. Freedom which translates to self-determination requires that we have to find the answers for our own problems and our own challenges. Nobody else is going to find them, and I think we have been given a very rich heritage.

“Many of those freedom fighters who have fought and have fallen would have left to us a heritage and a tradition that should position us to find those solutions as a nation together, but we have to make that through our own efforts and not the efforts of others,” the minister added.

Among the events for the Season Of Emancipation are a public lecture by Dr David Browne on April 24, in the Members’ Dining Room at Parliament, four days before Heroes Day; Africa Day, formerly Africa Liberation Day, observed on May 25; Day Of National Significance on July 26, commemorated though the Crop Over Folk Concert at Frank Collymore Hall.

August 1 is Emancipation Day, the 176th year since the British Caribbean gained full legal emancipation. On August 17, the birthdate of Marcus Garvey, will be recognized. August 23 will see the recognition of International Day For The Remembrance Of The Slave Trade And Its Abolition.

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