Culture Minister, Stephen Lashley chatting with artistes Aja, Ian Webster and Stedson Wiltshire while Barbados Today’s CEO, Kaymar Jordan looks on. (C.Pitt/BGIS)
Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley has lauded the efforts of the local online newspaper, Barbados Today, as it continues its contribution to the Crop Over Festival through its recently launched singing competition.
Speaking at the Launch of the Barbados Today Champion Competition at Accra Beach Resort last night, the Culture Minister stated that the organisation’s proactive approach to the Crop Over Festival, through the creation of the competition, was not only praise worthy but also necessary.
He then expressed the hope that other organisations would follow Barbados Today’s lead.
While complimenting the media house on its approach, Mr. Lashley admitted that such a move augurs well for the future of Crop Over. He added that for many years he had urged members of the private sector to get on board with the development of and investment in the Crop Over Festival.
“Barbados Today epitomises an excellent example of what can happen when private sector partners see an opportunity…Crop Over offers a huge opportunity for the creation, development and discovery of new talent and I believe this competition sealed [that] particular objective last year.”
Reflecting on the success of last year’s competition, which was called, “Barbados Today Crop Over Superstar”, the Minister added that the media house’s consistence and dedication to the further development of the competition was commendable.
Encouraging other members of the private sector to join Barbados Today in “thinking outside of the box” Minister Lashley highlighted that as the organisation moved out of its “comfort zone” a unique and “amazing” product was being created.
During the launch, it was revealed that through a partnership with the National Cultural Foundation, the competition would be expanded to include a Barbados Today Junior Champion and Barbados Today Soca Royale Champion in addition to the already established Barbados Today Pic-O-De-Crop Champion.
The partnership would allow each champion to be crowned on the same night and stage as the NCF’s major singing competitions; the Junior Monarch Competition, the Sweet Soca Competition and the Pic-O-De-Crop Competition.
According to the Minister, the expansion offers even greater opportunity to develop talent, and give seasoned artistes other platforms.
While thanking Mr. Lashley for his Ministry’s continued support of the competition, Chief Executive Officer of Barbados Today, Kaymar Jordan, revealed that the competition’s success was due largely to the Ministry’s endorsement through the use of the Pic-O-De-Crop stage as a platform to present last year’s winner.
“I owe much of the success to the Honourable Minister…he gave us a rousing endorsement. He actually said that it was what he was looking for in terms of more participation from the private sector.”
The CEO noted that the competition was intended to add to and diversify the Crop Over offerings. “We have so many competitions around Crop Over, but there weren’t any that called upon the average person to get involved in such a way that they can choose the winner,” she said.
Noting the wide reach and visibility of the competition, Ms. Jordan issued a further call for sponsors to get on board. Sixty-two artistes entered the competition last year and it is hoped that with even more categories for persons to enter this year, there will be additional participants.
This year the grand prizes are as follows: $15,000 for the Barbados Today Pic-O-De-Crop Champion; $10,000 for the Barbados Today Soca Royale Champion; and $2,000 for the Barbados Today Junior Champion.