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

Barbados has to enhance its creative capacity and look for new ways to boost the economy.

This view was expressed today by Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the Caribbean Music Awards Foundation’s conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Mr. Lashley told his audience that, more than ever, the country had to seek new modalities for economic sustenance, as the traditional sectors of agriculture, tourism and manufacturing had reached a plateau.?? He stressed that innovation and creativity were needed to re-invigorate the areas.

He continued: "The music industry has great potential for export and the development of markets in the Caribbean, as well as niche markets in North America and Europe. That development has, in turn, fuelled the expansion of related facets of the industry. However, the importance of marketing, distribution and retailing, as well as the management of intellectual property rights must be emphasised."

According to him, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development 2010 Creative Economy Report indicated that, since 2000, the creative economy was worth $2.2 trillion and growing at a rate of five percent annually. "We clearly need to try new things and have new visions if we are to have sustainable economic growth. My view is that a crucial part of that new focus must be on the creative sector," he declared.

The Minister noted that the growth of cultural industries was not just about developing a new economic platform, but affirming the Barbadian identity. He suggested that the creative community, cultural practitioners and private sector contributors and investors would benefit from ongoing discussions which would seek to find solutions to the challenges being faced and identify the necessary resources to position this new sector.

He stated that the Cultural Industries Development Bill was expected to be debated in Parliament before year-end, and he surmised that it would provide an enabling framework for the development of the sector.??

Mr. Lashley also told the gathering that Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, which was recently inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Property, would boost the arts industry, in general, and the music industry, in particular. "It will also open up avenues for the resuscitation of Bridgetown as a vibrant cultural hub," he advised.


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