Cultural Development Fund To Be Established

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Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett??

Plans are in train to establish a Cultural Development Fund to assist those cultural practitioners whose projects have yet to get off the ground due to a lack of finances.

Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, made this announcement last Saturday, while addressing the Barbados Network Consultation’s Inaugural Diaspora Conference under the theme: "Strengthening the Bonds that Unite Us".???? It was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He said the fund, which was one element in Government’s cultural industries development programme, would see the state, the private sector, as well as individuals, contributing to address the problems of undercapitalisation of the sector and limited access to finance.

Mr. Blackett also alluded to steps to address the paucity of data on the sector as well as insufficient facilities to stage cultural activities. "Our schedule of infrastructure building will have to be implemented over an extended period to ensure that?? ultimately, adequate facilities do exist.?? The programme starts this year, with the refurbishment of the Queen’s Park Steel Shed."

He further stated: "Institutional strengthening is another essential element, with plans being developed for the eventual establishment of a National School for Performing Arts, [and] a Film and Digital Media Commission, among others."

The Minister of Culture also promised to address the scourge of piracy, which he described as a "major source of discomfort and economic vulnerability for producers of cultural goods and services."

Mr. Blackett surmised: "Our best approach will be an interdisciplinary, collaborative and integrated approach to the development of policies, strategies, public awareness of Intellectual Property Law and related rights, strengthening of the local regulatory and collection ??machinery through COSCAP and a programme of sensitisation at the local level as well as input into the international decision-making process."

He gave the undertaking that over the coming months, government would enact the incentive legislation and redouble its efforts to further develop that process with the local stakeholders. jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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