Stephen Lashley, Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth (dark suit). (FP)

Barbados is sitting on a "literal" gold mine!

Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, said today that the potential for the sector was immense, but stressed that the country needed to make up for lost time.

He was at the time??addressing a press conference to discuss Government’s support of artist Sheena Rose who represented Barbados recently at the 11th Havana Biennial in Cuba. The press conference was held at the "Morningside Gallery" of the Division of Fine Arts at the Barbados Community College.

"We haven’t been moving forward fast enough to gain the advantages that the sector has for Barbados," he said.

However, the Minister told Ms. Rose that she and her colleagues were leading by example in creating their own employment in a non-traditional sector with potential to earn significant foreign exchange.

"We are seeing the beginning of a shift in relation to entrepreneurship and the concept of finding work. You are finding your own work. I hope you are encouraging those in your district by your own example. The future is not about sitting down and complaining. The future is about taking responsibility for your future with support of the Government," he said.

Mr. Lashley told the art students and those present that they were on the threshold of developing a business, adding that their work was world class material.

He noted that the origin for the much needed Centre of Excellence rested at the BCC. "All we need is to do some further refinement and rebrand it because we have seen the kind of work being done here at the Community College," he said.

While expressing his pleasure, Mr. Lashley added that the quality of work inspired him to continue pushing the idea of cultural industries development in Barbados.

"One of the potential key drivers of our economy will be the cultural industries. Therefore, you are poised to be in a very exciting arrangement because the future for the creative arts and the creative sector is extremely exciting," he stressed.

In congratulating Ms. Rose, Mr. Lashley encouraged her to continue on her journey in the arts, and reminded her that she was not alone.

"The Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, which is responsible for moving the creative sector as it relates to the cultural industries along is very focused. We are at an advanced stage of the draft Cultural Industries Bill, and I am determined to have this Bill enacted before the end of this year," he said.

The Culture Minister added that the Bill represented the future in terms of where Barbados’ creative and cultural industries sectors needed to go to create the kind of revenue generating potential required.

"You are entering into an arena where the potential to earn is immense. You are in an exciting field. The sky is the limit," Mr. Lashley told the art students.

He encouraged them to use Ms. Rose’s example and journey across the globe to allow their work to be known by buyers so as to increase the value over time.


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