Government is taking fresh guard with its Culture portfolio, intent on breathing new life into every aspect of the sector as the country emerges from the grip of the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Key public sector stakeholders met recently with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley for more than three hours, as the first step in what will be a series of wider consultations with partners across the sector.
The talks touched on most aspects of the portfolio, ranging from the raising of the profile of the Rock Hall Freedom Park in St. Thomas to the virtual remaking of Queen’s Park into a facility with a genuinely Bajan character as the island’s cultural capital, plans for the rekindling of dormant youth and cultural groups in communities across the island and the formation of new ones, to setting the 150-year-old Barbados Landship on the new voyage.
Participants also looked at rekindling the art of story-telling as a Bajan community feature, with special emphasis on bringing Bajan folklore back to life for the benefit of youth, and finally taking charge of a global road tennis push that recognizes Barbados as its place of origin.
As the new Golden Square takes shape, cultural policy stakeholders will be paying attention to the 80th anniversary of the formation of the labour movement in Barbados, which will be celebrated next year. The role of the Barbados Workers Union and other trade unions are expected to be recognized in a significant way.
One of the most extensive initiatives on the cultural calendar next year will be a national food and drink festival with individual parish components scheduled throughout the year, culminating with a national food exposition in the City toward the end of the year.
Cultural stakeholders have also been mandated to take a fresh look at the operation of community centres across the island to ensure that their opening hours coincide with the times when residents are genuinely able to use them, that programmes offered meet the needs and interests of the communities while creating earning opportunities for participants, and that the communities in which they are sited have greater autonomy over what takes place.
There was also extensive discussion on the future roles of a number of state agencies, including the National Cultural Foundation, Community Development Department, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and the Department of Archives, in developing the country’s cultural agenda over the next few years.