While the National Cultural Foundation may well divest itself of certain aspects of the Crop Over Festival, it will not hand it over “lock, stock and barrel” to the private sector.
That assurance was given last Saturday by Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steven Blackett, when he addressed festival stakeholders, awardees, sponsors and specially invited guests at the Crop Over Awards Ceremony at the Grand Salle of the Tom Adams Financial Centre.
The Minister was at the time responding to earlier comments made by the head of the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM), Roger Millar, who had raised a “red flag” about government’s proposal to pass on certain events of the island’s national festival to private enterprise.
“Rest assured, Mr. Miller, it is not our intention to hand Crop Over lock, stock and barrel to the private sector. We are very mindful of the festival’s contribution to the economy. Even though we acknowledge that it has the potential to make an even greater contribution, Crop Over is not just a commercial undertaking. No people-based festival should even be construed as such,” Mr. Blackett declared.
The Culture Minister also pledged to keep the cost of tickets for Crop Over events at a minimum cost.
“It is always government’s intention to ensure that the cost of admission is not so high as to preclude the majority of Barbadians from enjoying them. So, when you hear that a particular event might not have realised the kind of profit, please remember, that we try as far as possible to keep the cost of tickets as low as we can, he assured.