Minister of Family, Culture,??Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley. (FP)??

Government has initiated discussions with the Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) to have its model replicated in other communities across Barbados.

This disclosure came last evening from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the closing ceremony, at the Plantation Garden Theatre, of the PCW’s Camp Fusion.

Mr. Lashley said: "I am delighted to say that the PCW has agreed to work with my Ministry, through the Commission for Pan-African Affairs, in order to guide the process. This initiative will see the development, in the first instance, of two broad-based community cultural organisations. I am confident that there are many other Barbadians who would welcome an opportunity to serve their communities in the way that the PCW has done over the years.

"I encourage groups and individuals to work with the two Divisions of my Ministry, Family and Youth and Culture and Sports, and the Pinelands Creative Workshop in order to make this a reality."

According to him, the success of Government’s policy to develop the creative and cultural industries would depend, to a large measure, on the extent to which creative expression could be stimulated at the community level.

Therefore, he said emphasis on the establishment of a Pinelands School of The Arts was an excellent idea, which he supported. He added that as the school evolved, he could see it eventually playing a significant role in the emergence of a National School for the Performing Arts, assisting in coordinating and executing community-based programmes in all of the various disciplines of the arts.

Mr. Lashley also commended Pinelands for the proposed creation of a community orchestra which would target vulnerable youth. "This initiative is also very relevant to the Government’s policy in relation to the sustainable development of our very skilled Barbados Youth Orchestra…

"Some may say that this dream might be somewhat ambitious, but I would like to think that we can, like Venezuela, eventually develop a series of community, or parish orchestras across Barbados, honing the musical skills of the largest possible number of our young people. We can start with this initiative by the PCW," he surmised.

The Minister urged corporate Barbados to join them in developing and implementing those community-based projects. "I am sure you will agree that investment in our communities and in our young people, in particular, is very much in your interest. In order for your businesses to grow and to be successful, you need to work with us to ensure that our communities are strong and healthy in every sense of the word," he suggested.

He stressed that involvement in cultural and artistic activities contributed to the total development of the individual. He underscored the significant contribution of the arts in strengthening communities, promoting social cohesion and reinforcing a sense of identity, especially among young people.

During the evening, Mr. Lashley praised the PCW, saying it had become an exemplary model locally, regionally and internationally. "PCW embodies the spirit of volunteerism and social responsibility, and the commitment and dedication of its leaders and members must be commended," he said.


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