Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has identified the diversification of the Barbados economy as the most effective means of pulling the country out of the global downturn.
Mr. Stuart listed investment in alternative and sustainable sources of energy, the development of the cultural industries, the creation of new tourism products and the penetration of new source markets as some of the areas which should be focused on.
He made the comments while delivering the feature address last Saturday at the unveiling of a plaque in front of Queen???s Park Steel Shed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Barbados Landship Association.
The Prime Minister said his administration had been creating the conditions for the diversification and growth of the economy. He noted that the Cultural Industries Development Bill would be of particular relevance to the Landship, since it would, among other things, provide for the establishment of a regulatory framework to facilitate and encourage the sustainable growth and development of cultural industries.
???The strategy is to develop the cultural industries as another economic platform on which Barbados can depend, since they rely solely on the well-known creativity of our human resources, as demonstrated by the Landship. It will help talented Barbadians to acquire the entrepreneurial skills to transform the sector and make a significant contribution to the country???s GDP,??? he suggested.
He added that another fillip for the development of the cultural industries was the achievement of the UNESCO inscription of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison as a World Heritage Site in July 2011. He expressed the view that this Heritage Corridor would attract increasing numbers of discerning tourists from a variety of source markets who would be interested in the physical and cultural heritage of the island.
???Several public sector, private sector and civil society organisations, including the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, the Garrison Historical Consortium Inc. and the Constituency Councils covering the Heritage Corridor are gearing themselves up to make the Heritage Corridor a hive of cultural and economic activity. The word is out that we no longer need to disguise and conceal our heritage,??? Mr. Stuart stressed.
He appealed to all the relevant stakeholders to give full support to the Landship to allow it to seize the opportunity to restructure itself and increase its services in order to capitalise on the ???economic bonanza??? that was expected from the growth and development of heritage tourism.
Describing the Landship as one of those phenomenal Barbadian creations that express the genius of citizens ???to engage in remarkable social enterprise, syncretism and creolisation???, the Prime Minister noted that no national or international event representing Barbados would be considered complete without a performance by the group.
It is estimated that there are only 30 active members in the Barbados Landship Association who parade and overall there are 40 persons involved in the movement.