Prime Minister David Thompson, addressing??COSCAP’s fundraising gala at Hilton Barbados. (A. Miller/BGIS)

In an effort to survive and prosper in the dispensation after the current recession, countries like Barbados must find their own niches in the global market place. And, according to Prime Minister David Thompson, "it is in the cultural industries that we have an absolute advantage".

Mr. Thompson made this observation last Saturday evening, as he delivered remarks at the Inaugural Fundraising Gala of the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (COSCAP) Foundation at the Hilton Barbados. ????

"We in the Caribbean have a rich oral tradition and cultural heritage to draw on. What’s just as important is that we also have highly educated people to manage the affairs of gifted artistes," he noted. ??

The Prime Minister stressed that it was government’s duty to ensure that within the educational system, every child had the opportunity to develop its talents, which need not be academic. He added that in the world of work, they also needed to be given the status and financial rewards that put them on par with the politicians, lawyers, doctors, teachers and civil servants.

He further pointed out that Saturday’s gala sent the message that the nascent music industry, along with other related cultural industries were about to take off.

"These industries are needed to pull us out of the current recession and help us diversify both our tourism product and our economy. These developments are highly consistent with my government’s policy of investing in our human capital," Mr. Thompson opined.

He commended COSCAP for the excellent work it had been doing, and for creating the Foundation "to give something back to the many artistes who have given of their best to express themselves, to entertain their clients and to promote Barbados and its culture."

The Prime Minister described the COSCAP Foundation as a safety net for the organisation’s 1200 members. The private, non-profit organisation, he explained, would administer the performance and production rights of the composers and authors of musical works and music publishers, as well as the related rights of the producers of phonograms and of performers in Barbados.

He also noted that it was designed to assist in the financing of musical education, training and professional development for young musicians and other artistes, while enhancing their long-term social well-being.

"Such education and training will be undertaken through an ongoing series of scholarships, grants, workshops, seminars and other opportunities in Barbados and abroad," Mr. Thompson stated.

The Board of Trustees of the COSCAP Foundation comprises Sir David Simmons, (patron), Glyne Murray, Ayanna Young Marshall, Ben Arrindell, Lynette Eastmond, Norman Barrow, Stella Hackett, Stedson Wiltshire, Nicholas Brancker, Celia Toppin and Derek Wilkie.

The first COSCAP Foundation Award of Excellence was presented to the longest performing band in Barbados, The Merrymen, by Prime Minister Thompson.

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