Barbados’ Cultural Industries Act To Be Proclaimed Feb. 1

Minister Stephen Lashley

News Americas Now, New York, NY, Wednesday, January 21, 2015-Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, gave this assurance during a press conference at the Ministry of Culture, Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael last Friday.

Explaining that the Cabinet of Barbados agreed with his Ministry’s recommended date, he said the proclamation would mean that for the first time, members of the creative sector would have access to “a whole category of incentives”.

“One of the key components of the incentives is to make provisions for the private sector to be able to invest in the cultural industries sector, and to do so in a way to allow for investments to be given the necessary tax write-off treatment. That alone in my view will encourage the private sector to feel much more confident to invest in the tremendously promising work of the creative sector in Barbados,” Mr. Lashley emphasised.

He continued: “This essentially places the cultural industries sector on full footing with other sectors in Barbados. The tourism, agriculture and manufacturing sectors have for many years benefited from the provision of incentives, and to a large extent the creation of incentives have been very key to the rapid development of the tourism sector. We certainly feel this will be a key plank upon which a lot of the work that is currently happening in the cultural industries sector will be further propelled.”

Under the Cultural Industries Development Act, creative practitioners could take advantage of funding, duty free concessions, and income tax benefits for projects. Other benefits include tax allowances and exemptions on cultural initiatives and incentives for heritage and conservation activities.

The Culture Minister added that creative practitioners would also be able to join with Government to create the “kind of impetus and framework” which could aid with the expansion of the creative industries sector in Barbados.

In addition, the legislation makes provision for the establishment of a Cultural Industries Development Authority, which will be a statutory cooperation based at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.

Mr. Lashley said the Authority should be in place “before the start of the Crop Over Festival”, with its own human and physical resources. He stressed that the Cultural Industries Development Authority would not be a duplication of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), and disclosed that the Business Development Unit of the NCF would be transferred to the Authority.

Explaining that the work of that Unit “touches and concerns the work of the cultural industries sector”, the Minister said the NCF would be recalibrated to focus on cultural development at the community and national levels, with the intention to create international connections and widen opportunities for the Barbadian cultural experience.