Barbados will, in the not-too-distant future, have the Cultural Industries Development Act on its statute books.

This assurance has come from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who promised the Act would take into account the organisers of community galas, such as the Holetown Festival.

Mr. Lashley made the comments yesterday while delivering the feature address at the opening of the Holetown Festival. He told the large gathering, which included government officials, locals and visitors: "The draft legislation is still in the process of being finalised by the Office of the Attorney General, and the actual details of concessions and incentives are being fine-tuned.

???????????????????????????? "Suffice it to say, however, that a community festival like this one, will be classified as a ???cultural project’ and once approved by the relevant authorities, will be eligible for specific duty-free and income tax concessions."

???????????????????????????? During the wide-ranging address, the Minister underscored the value of community festivals and said Government remained committed to supporting them. "My Ministry currently makes contributions to this one, and to the Oistins Fish Festival. Research has shown that community festivals provide valuable opportunities for social interaction and for communities to celebrate themselves," he suggested.

He noted that Holetown and its environs had a rich history and its story should be told. The Culture Minister said government might, one day, undertake the process of making an application to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that Holetown be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Minister Lashley commended the members of the Holetown Festival Planning Committee for their tireless commitment in organising the 35-year-old event, as well as the Barbados Tourism Authority for its excellent job in promoting the festival overseas.

??"The Holetown Festival has emerged as the closest rival to our premier festival, Crop Over. Not only does it offer a wide range of activities, cultural and otherwise, but it can boast of attracting a considerable number of visitors from regional and international destinations, many of whom routinely come to Barbados every year, just to be a part of the festivities," he explained.

The Minister urged the festival’s organisers to continue involving young people in it, stressing that all must be done to make them an integral part of the activities from the planning stage.??

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