|Stephen Lashley, Family, Culture, Sports and Youth. (FP)??|
Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, has disclosed that neither his Ministry nor the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) was consulted in relation to alleged plans to stage a Rihanna and Jay-Z show in Barbados on August 4.
Mr. Lashley said: "I want to make it abundantly clear that the Ministry and the NCF have not been approached or consulted about such a show."
He continued: "I have heard of concerns from various Crop Over stakeholders who voiced their disappointment that an unnamed Government agency would allegedly support such an initiative, which, according to them, would impact negatively on their earnings should it occur at such a critical stage of the festival, when several events would have already been planned by tent managers, calypsonians and promoters."
The Minister pointed out that prior and early consultation would have been necessary, particularly given the fact that the Crop Over calendar was settled from as early as October last year, as was the case the previous year.
Mr. Lashley assured the Crop Over stakeholders that he would never be a part of any development that would hurt their businesses. "We would have taken all of the Crop Over stakeholders into our confidence and explained to them the difficult economic circumstances facing the country and the need for them to be reasonable with any demands for increases in the various prize monies and subventions. It would be fair to expect, therefore, that any Government-sponsored or promoted event would have to take this reality into account," he indicated.
Meanwhile, he said he was pleased so far with the execution of Crop Over 2012. He suggested that given the response to the Cavalcades and the Bridgetown by Night Heritage Tour, this year’s festival would be even bigger and better than 2011. He praised the NCF and the Crop Over stakeholders for their level of professionalism and cooperation in ensuring that the festival could be planned and executed in an atmosphere of tolerance and fairness.