Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (right) greets Chairperson f the National Cultural Foundation, Monique Taitt, at the start of the breakfast meeting. At centr is Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Even though Government is unwavering in its support for the Crop Over Festival, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, has made a renewed call for the corporate sector to lend further support to the festival.

Speaking to a large gathering of sponsors, government officials and potential sponsors, the Prime Minister outlined the economic and social benefits of the Festival, during the Crop Over 2011 Sponsors’ Breakfast and Launch at Hilton Barbados.

He reasoned that government would continue to support the festival despite the prevailing economic recession and other commitments to national development, and as a consequence, had to rely heavily on private sector support.??

"Sponsorship does not have to come in quantities of six figures … it is welcome and valuable in even the smallest of amounts, or even in kind.?? What is important, is that the Crop Over sponsorship family be widened so that as many enterprises as possible enter into a mutually beneficial partnership with the government through the National Cultural Foundation," Mr. Stuart maintained.

In giving an insight into the economic returns from the Festival, the Prime Minister disclosed that data gathered over the three-year period 2005 to 2007, showed that an average of 52 dollars in revenue was generated on every dollar that government had invested in sponsorship.

Noting that the annual profits from Crop Over stood at $80 million, Mr. Stuart lamented that some people were still oblivious of their responsibilities to support the festival.

"The effects of Crop Over are far-reaching.?? Year after year, we see the extent to which businesses across the spectrum stand to benefit.?? However, there are many of those who are exploiting the brand, earning money from it and appear not to see it as their responsibility to contribute to its development and sustainability," he observed.

The Prime Minister urged the business community to see funding not merely as a revenue earning opportunity, but as a means of giving back to Barbadian communities, which through their patronage, had helped in the success of their enterprises.

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