Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Reverend Joseph Atherley (centre), Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador, Amos Tincani (at left) and the Caribbean Regional Negotiation Machinery’s Trevor Boothe (at right).

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Reverend Joseph Atherley, has made a plea to a Trade and Investment meeting of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) to fully harness the real potential of cultural industries in the region.

He told today’s opening ceremony at Grand Barbados Hotel, that “cultural industries provide the type of context where working class people across the Caribbean can be propelled into further economic opportunity with respect to the distance they can travel economically speaking, and with respect to the numbers which can be accommodated within the context of developing cultural industries.”

The Minister said it was crucial that Caribbean people challenged themselves to have a mindset where “any talk of the development of cultural industries, should also include wealth creation at the level of the working class”.

He noted that tertiary level institutions had a significant part to play in terms of developing cultural Industries.

“Unless our tertiary level educational institutions and their offerings can help us to put the cultural industries of the Caribbean on a competitive and excelling platform in the global arena, in a serious effect, they will fail us,” he said.

The Minister added that now was the time to identify the points where these interests converged and made tertiary level education such that it served the development of the cultural sector in more meaningful ways.

Today’s meeting was held in association with the European Union (EU) Commission’s TRINNEX programme which seeks to strengthen and enhance the private sector’s involvement in the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements between the African Caribbean and Pacific countries and the EU.

Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Commission, Amos Tincani said:  “The Caribbean region has a wealth of cultural industries … it is interesting to note the successful staging of yet another CARIFESTA last month in Trinidad and Tobago. Yet, there is still so much that could be done to promote and support this bustling industry.”

He further stated that the EU had been a long standing partner with the region and has deep trade and development links with the Caribbean. “We will continue to live up to our commitments under the Cotonou Agreement, as tangible benefits from our support continue to bear fruit,” he said.

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