Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo. (FP)

Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo. (FP)

“Development cannot be separated from culture and we have ensured that this linkage was addressed in the Barbados Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS)”.

Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this disclosure recently, while delivering the feature address at the Close-Out Session of the Pinelands Creative Workshop’s HRDS Initiative, at the Warrens Office Complex.

She told those gathered that sustainable development must be a means of achieving a “more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence”. And, according to her, culture has been identified as a driving force in the fulfilment of this objective.

“Culture is a powerful global economic engine. We have watched local talent rise to international success and we have noted how tourists love all things Bajan… Through technology, the world is more exposed and open to different cultures and new avenues are available for our cultural goods and services to be marketed internationally,” she stated.

To ensure that the right environment exists to support the internationalisation of the sector, the Labour Minister revealed that her Ministry, under the HRDS, continued to place culture at the core of developmental policy.

In doing so, the Government has since enacted legislation such as the Cultural Industries Development Act, to enable sustainable growth and development of the cultural industries; fund cultural projects; and facilitate duty-free concessions and income tax benefits for the island’s cultural practitioners.

Senator Byer Suckoo further explained: “The HRDS focuses on the reinvigoration of the cultural sector as a driver of economic activity and growth, which contributes to the sustainability of local culture and the preservation of Barbados’ cultural heritage…

“This is in tandem with the development of the cultural industries legislation and supporting structures in our sister Ministry, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.”

With the support of the HRDS Unit, the Pinelands Creative Workshop commenced the cultural internationalisation project in February 2016, with a focus on the development three main components.

These included: Cultural Products Assessment in the Tourism Sector; Research on Indigenous Historical Community Culture Art Forms; and the Development of a Toolkit and Export Strategy.

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