(Barbados Advocate) Culture Minister Stephen Lashley expects that the hosting of CARIFESTA later this year will be beneficial to Barbados while bringing tremendous opportunities for local and regional artistes.
He was speaking on day two of the 2017- 2018 Estimates and Expenditure debate in the Lower Chamber yesterday where he gave an update on the festival which is planned for August 17 to 27.
Stressing the importance and expansion of the cultural industries sector on the island, which he said has created an avenue for a number of entrepreneurs, he pointed to the myriad of opportunities that will be found during the 11 day festival which has been allocated a budget of $6 million.
“This festival is positioned to offer the region an avenue for the development and enhancement of this cultural industries sector generally. Barbados has taken the lead by ensuring we will host a festival that will provide the impetus for the acceleration of the cultural industries in Barbados and the Caribbean.”
With 3 000 artistes booked to attend the festival, Minister Lashley told the Honourable House that the benefits of hosting the festival will extend to hotels, taxis not just for those participating in the festival, but also for the visitors coming to experience the event.
He said for the first time, a buyers shopping mall will be introduced at the event exposing artistes to a number of international buyers from across Europe, North and Central America. “Where they can identify cultural product for export. We expect CARIFESTA will boost our export capacity in relation to the very rich array of cultural goods and products that the Caribbean has to offer the world.”
“We have seen a number of opportunities missed in relation to the EPA and we intend to utilise our cultural industries to propel growth and create inflows of foreign exchange through the cultural industries and CARIFSTA will be used for that.”
The Minister revealed that to date 15 countries have confirmed their attendance, with interest also coming from Cuba, Brazil, Canada and the US. (JH)