Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Shirley Farnum (right), listens attentively while Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, addresses the opening ceremony for the consultation. Also pictured is Lecturer in History and Cultural Studies of the UWI Cave Hill Campus and Master of Ceremonies for the event, Dr. Marcia Burrowes. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Government’s one-day consultation on the draft Cultural Industries Development Bill has been described as "very successful" by Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Shirley Farnum, who promised ongoing discussions with stakeholders to advance this young sector.

"It was a very successful consultation, particularly from the point of view that the stakeholders had their opportunity to make contributions regarding the development of the Bill.

There was also success in the sense that we were able to provide the stakeholders with vital information on the provisions of the Bill. I think they are now in a better position because they understand what it contains and the benefits to be made available to them, including duty and tax free concessions and access to funding," Ms. Farnum said.

She explained that it was necessary to prepare a list of items which would be subject to exemptions under the Act, and during the discussions the cultural entrepreneurs were able to identify equipment, supplies, materials and the tools necessary to ply their trade. "This information will facilitate preparation of a schedule of items which the cultural stakeholders may access free of duties and taxes," she observed.

The one-day consultation was held last Saturday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre and attracted about 160 participants from the private sector, as well as a number of government Ministries, namely Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Finance, Industry, International Business and Family, Culture, Sports and Youth.

Ms. Farnum noted that on this occasion, there were representatives from groups within the sector, since the entire sector could not be accommodated in one meeting. She indicated that the Ministry would receive the report from the rapporteur next week, but pointed out that the Cultural Industries Consultant was currently collating other information also necessary for finalising the amendments to the Bill.

She noted that the Director of the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Dr. Keith Nurse; CARICOM’s Programme Manager for Cultural and Community Development, Dr. Hilary Browne; and Cultural Industries Consultant with the CARICOM Exemptions Regime, Sacha Silva, all commended Barbados on its programme to develop the cultural industries legislation, as well as for hosting the consultation.

"The CARICOM officials said the Barbados Bill is the first of its kind in the Caribbean, placing this country ahead of all the other Caribbean territories in terms of legislation. [They] also [said] that CARICOM would be considering it as a model for this region," the Permanent Secretary stated.????????????????????

Ms. Farnum added that it was "heartening to discover that although Barbados has not fully developed its planning for the creative economy, which incorporates all the technological and inter-sectoral linkages for the development of a creative economy, the actions taken to date have are paving the way for that type of development".

The Cultural Industries Development Bill is aimed at providing a broad legislative framework, wide-ranging incentives and a development Fund, among other things, to enable the full development of the sector.


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