Prime Minister Freundel Stuart presents the Lifetime Achievement Award for??poet Kamau Brathwaite, to his wife Barbara Reid. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The power of the pen as a unifying force throughout the Caribbean for decades has not gone unnoticed.

In light of its importance to society, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has signaled government’s intention to provide an enabling environment to facilitate the development of all disciplines of the Arts.

He gave this undertaking on Thursday night while delivering the feature address at the inaugural Writers Ink – BIM Literary Festival and Book Fair at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination.

Acknowledging that Caribbean writers had been at the forefront of the process of re-education and regeneration, the Prime Minister alluded to the enactment of the Cultural Industries Development Bill, which would maximise the economic potential of the island’s cultural industries.

"…But, more importantly, it [the Cultural Industries Development Bill] will seek to ensure that critical developmental programmes are put in place, so that our artists will be provided with much needed opportunities to hone their skills and to grow," Mr. Stuart asserted.

The Prime Minister also commended Writers’ Ink for organising the BIM Literary festival and he expressed delight about the strides made in the literary arts.

"In recent years, it has been comforting to see that the literary arts are taking on a new lease of life here in Barbados.??

More and more of our young people, in particular, are learning the joy of creating with words. The quantity of Literary Arts entries into our annual National Independence Festival of Creative Arts have been growing significantly…," Mr. Stuart added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, mentioned the importance of festivals to a country’s cultural development.

He reasoned that festivals were not only a stimulant for economic activity; they also "provide opportunities for artists in the various disciplines to showcase and to develop their particular talents".

Mr. Lashley commended the organisers for staging the event which he described as "a welcome addition to the family of festivals".

"This region is so rich in literary talent and it is truly a pleasure to be in the company of so many of our eminent writers.?? The fact that you have taken time to be here, is to my mind, a testimony to the fact that you too acknowledge the significance of the BIM Literary Festival and what its organisers hope to achieve, and that you have given it your full endorsement," he affirmed.


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