By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Monday August 10 announced that the APNU+AFC administration will be looking to allocate some $233M towards the development of the culture and arts sector in Guyana – an announcement which was well received by the stakeholders in that sector.
Jordan at the time stated that government remains committed to promoting and elevating local artists in all spheres of endeavor that is comparable to their counterparts in other parts of the Caribbean and the wider world.
“Support for and promotion of local films and the literary community will continue and it is expected that in the medium term, these will serve to create jobs as the community evolves into an industry…$233 million has been allocated to support our cultural institutions over the next four months; this includes an increased subvention to the Theatre Guild and digitization of artefacts,” said Jordan.
Guyana Prize winner, Mosa Telford in an invited comment noted the recent development as a “good start” but was clear that more training needs to be done.
“I think priority can be placed towards training for people involved in filmmaking, theatre, music and dance,” said Telford.
She reasoned that there are many persons in those areas that lack the requisite training and such an opportunity would work to the benefit of the creative industry.
Nickose Layne, a young, producer and writer, opined that the funds being made available should go into grants so that poor theatre producers can put on better shows.
“I’ve been saying for the longest while that we need drama teachers who are actually practitioners. The money can go towards developing a program to aid that,” said Layne.
Another local creative Francis Bailey told iNews that as a “grassroots creative”, he believes that the most important factor that seems to be lacking is the availability of opportunities.
“The budgetary allocation puts us one step in the right direction toward enjoying the vast rewards of a multibillion dollar industry the likes of which we see in neighbouring territories,” said Bailey.
He too noted that training was an important aspect of developing the sector in Guyana and this should be done with the aim of creating peer educators.
“I see some of the funds being split into grants to foster local development and some of that money should be spent on the arduous task of bringing our cultural infrastructure up to date. Our national art gallery has been poorly curated and needs modernizing, our national music school, while it was an excellent idea to build one, does not currently meet the criteria to be called even a high school music department in most countries, this must also change,” he stated.