Barbados’ newest Cultural Ambassadors (from left to right) Dr. Anthony “Gabby” Carter, Alison Hinds-Walcott, and Stedson “Red Plastic Bag” Wiltshire. (B.Hinds/BGIS)
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has promised that Government will continue to create the necessary environment to allow for the development of the cultural industries.
He gave the assurance on Sunday when he formally conferred the title of Cultural Ambassador on Alison Hinds-Walcott, Stedson “Red Plastic Bag” Wiltshire and Dr. Anthony “Gabby” Carter, at the Wildey Gymnasium. He pointed out that in the case of Gabby, his was a formalisation and continuation of a title that was given 13 years ago, while Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty was conferred with her title last year.
Mr. Stuart said: “We are seeking through the Cultural Industries Development Act, and through programmes and various activities to better equip our cultural practitioners to make livelihoods for themselves. We are seeking to have more ‘Alisons’, ‘Red Plastic Bags’ and ‘Mighty Gabbys’, who in turn can enlarge the cadre of Cultural Ambassadors for Barbados.”
Stressing that all Barbadians could be proud of these great citizens, the Prime Minister noted that each one of them had brought his or her individual capacity and capability to bear on the cultural development of this island.
“They have been leveraging the cultural assets and telling the story of Barbados for many years to local, regional and international audiences. They have promoted our culture using the calypso art form, and as a result of their extensive travels, have fostered intercultural dialogue….
“Their commitment and dedication and their strengths, consistency and versatility, as well as their focus, are all characteristics to be emulated by our young people, especially those in the cultural field. They are also characteristics from which we as a nation can continue to draw,” he opined.
Mr. Stuart expressed the view that as the nation moves forward, there was a need to pay attention to the development of its cultural heritage. According to him, there were some areas which transcended the purely economic dimension and added to our growth as a people that needed our priority attention.
“The decision to accord priority to these areas will strengthen our national and cultural identity and enhance our position on the global stage,” he contended.
The objectives of the Cultural Ambassadors Programme are: to take Barbados’ dynamic culture and its rich heritage to the world with the view of making an international impact; to ensure the country is given a space to influence the formulation of international policies, standards and agreements, especially in relation to culture; and to secure markets for the cultural industries sector.