The consultations the National Cultural Foundation has been hosting to get feedback from its stakeholders on how the 2011 Crop Over Festival could be improved have been welcomed by LIME, one of its main sponsors.

Managing Director of LIME, Alex McDonald, said he was "very impressed with the early start of planning" for this year’s festival, adding that in the past, LIME, like several other entities involved in the event, had expressed a desire to make its contribution early.

His comments were made yesterday during discussions with Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, who had earlier endorsed LIME’s sponsorship of Voice of Barbados’ Positive Vibes Youth Spotlight programme which will be aired on 92.9 FM on Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

?????????????????? Mr. McDonald explained: "Those involved in the festival want to give their input early. That way, you are setting up for all stakeholders and I think this is what modern governance is about, making sure you have all those stakeholders feeding into that policy… I want to give you some plaudits for having the Ministry go in that direction. Even now we are talking with persons involved to make sure we get representation as a sponsor …"

Mr. Lashley said the consultations "have been well subscribed and going quite well". Giving the rationale for the meetings, he explained:?? "The intention is to ensure all views are put on the table and Crop Over is seen by everyone as being his or her festival.?? The views that are coming out [from the meetings] are very refreshing and we will seek to do what we can within our resources to ensure those views are respected and we can plan with them in mind."

Meanwhile, the Minister disclosed that a Crop Over initiative would be launched to include young people as volunteers.?? He stated that a special session would be arranged for the youth of Barbados to give them an opportunity to be a part of the planning and execution of the festival.??

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