A local artist is calling on Government to place more emphasis on the cultural industries at the primary level.

Artist Neville Legall said the Ministry of Education should have at least one trained art teacher in every primary school.

Mr. Legall, who was speaking this morning at the National Task Force on Crime Prevention’s (NTFCP) Fifth Annual Primary and Secondary Art Competition Presentation Ceremony, told those gathered that when he was a child in the 1970s, "For art, teachers would give you some paint and some crayons and we could do whatever we wanted, however, in today’s world I believe that art is a more specialised subject than that and with so many graduates coming out of Community College every year we should have a trained teacher in every school."

He said: "Successive governments have been talking about the cultural industries and there is a role for the cultural industries even in times of recession but if it is to be taken seriously we have to start from the primary school level and get children sensitised to various aspects of the industry such as art and music, drama and the performing arts".

Mr. Legall, who was a competition judge in the art competition noted that it was his belief that in Barbados if we could train our children from their formative years that we as a country could produce artists of higher calibre.

In addition, Senior Research Analyst at the NTFCP, Vincent Alleyne, who gave the feature address at this morning’s presentation, lauded the participants in the competition, and stated it had attracted over 425 entries, up from 126 last year.

He pointed out that "the art competition is but one of the tools to reinforce safety and for crime prevention experts to continue to communicate crime prevention information to the youth."

The Research Analyst told the contestants that the art pieces drawn by them and displayed in the NTFCP’s calendar "highlights that you as students are aware of and understand that there is deviancy, crime and violence in our communities."

He emphasised that over the years the Task Force had been at the forefront in its efforts to reduce crime in our society. He indicated that his department had produced and continued to produce numerous studies on ways to prevent and deal with crime as well as improve the criminal justice system whether through conducting Barbados Crime Surveys, Literacy Testing in Prisons, Prison Surveys and a Study of Homicides in Barbados, to name a few.

Over 26 schools participated in this year’s Art Competition.??


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