If the Crop Over festival is to be sustainable, it must grow, evolve and respond to the needs of its constituents. As a result, several changes are being implemented for Crop Over 2015.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this disclosure on Saturday at the 2014 Crop Over Awards Ceremony, held at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, St. Michael.
The most notable change will be the staging of the popular Foreday Morning Jam and Pic-O-De-Crop Finals on separate days.
He noted that while 54 bands were registered for Foreday Morning this year, only 45 actually paraded on the road.
???So phenomenal has been the growth??? that it is now abundantly clear, that it is necessary for this event to be held on a separate day in order to allow for more efficient and effective management of this event,??? the Minister said.
He continued: ???Notwithstanding the fact that the decision taken this year [to postpone the Pic-O-De-Crop finals] was in reaction of impending bad weather, we had an opportunity to give this a test run. And after consultation with our stakeholders, we have decided that in 2015, Foreday Morning Jam will be held on Friday, July 31, and the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals will take place on Saturday, August 1.???
Stressing that he didn???t believe the growth of the Foreday Morning Jam would contribute to the demise of Grand Kadooment, he said: ???It is nevertheless our intention to take steps to ensure the continued sustainability and growth of Grand Kadooment remains a very popular event.???
The Culture Minister added that from Crop Over 2015, Grand Kadooment Bandleaders will benefit from tax incentives and exemptions under the Cultural Industries Development Act, which will be proclaimed this year.
???Indeed under Section 21 of the Act, a cultural entrepreneur, cultural practitioner or governmental entity of an approved cultural project will be exempt from the payment of import duty, stamp duty and value added tax (VAT),??? he explained.
He further outlined that exceptions will also apply to imports of equipment, importers operating non-capital supplies necessary for the preparation for national festivals, building materials purchased locally and other capital assets.
Under the Act, ???capital assets??? refers to items such as imports of equipment, apparatus and materials; while ???imports of operating non-capital supplies??? means goods used in the preparation of festivals and approved cultural projects.
???So in a little while, your calls in relation to those exceptions including VAT will be answered,??? Mr. Lashley said.