Culture Minister, Stephen Lashley, has given his seal of approval for Barbados Today???s latest venture, its Crop Over SuperStar competition, which will see the selection of the island???s first online calypso monarch.

Speaking this morning at the launch of the competition at his Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael office, Mr. Lashley congratulated the online publication for ???heeding the call??? with this latest initiative, and stated that it had his full backing as Minister responsible for Culture, as well as that of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).

???This is exactly what I talked about in terms of encouraging further private sector partnerships and collaboration when it comes to Crop Over. Each year of course, I do make the point that Crop Over is really not a festival of the Government of Barbados or the NCF, it???s really a people???s festival???and there is a lot of opportunity for private sector partners to get involved and add to it.

???Each year, the NCF executes in excess of 30 events, which makes Crop Over perhaps the largest festival in the world in terms of the number of events,??? he underscored.??Noting that the online competition augurs well for the festival, the Minister called on other private sector partners to ???conceptualise Crop Over events, preferably those which are exciting and interesting???.

???I think this particular competition also provides an avenue for our calypsonians??? Those who are undiscovered, and those who are a bit shy to come on stage now have the opportunity to come out of the proverbial closet and bring their talents to the fore,??? Mr. Lashley suggested.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Editor-In-Chief of Barbados Today, Kaymar Jordan, said her organisation???s latest offering was in part a response to calls from the Minister for the private sector to not only lend more financial support but ???to bring fresh ideas and innovative activities to build interest in the island???s premier cultural event???.

Pointing out that there was ???an explosion in the online market???, the CEO said Crop Over could not be left behind. She added that the Crop Over SuperStar contest would not only capture the attention of the ever-growing online audience at home and abroad, but also build a whole new market with significant opportunities.

The contest, which began earlier this month, will end Sunday, July 5, and is eligible to all nationals and legal residents 18 years and over.??Also on board as mentor in the competition is veteran calypsonian, Red Plastic Bag.

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