CARICOM looks to cultural assets to provide Sustainable Development Solutions for the region

Trinidad and Tobago is leading the charge in encouraging exploration of export opportunities for our cultural assets as a way of acquiring economic sustainability for our artists. Dr. the Honourable, Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts lobbied for this in her feature address at the opening of the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on Thursday, 6 June 2019, at the CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana.  She said  economic sustainability “means creating a cultural ecosystem so robust that culture creators become self-sustaining; no more starving artist syndrome; it means creating meaningful cultural collaborations that are fair and transparent through-out the region, which benefit the artistes of all member and associate states.”

The two-day meeting, which the Hon Dr. Gadsby-Dolly chaired, was held under the theme 'Leveraging CARICOM’s Cultural Assets for the Sustainable Development of the Community'. The meeting was attended by leading cultural ambassadors across the region including Dr. Hilary Brown, Programme Manager for Culture & Community Development, CARICOM and Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community.

During her feature address, Minister Gadsby –Dolly challenged the group to create a paradigm shift in the way economic sustainability was being addressed as it relates to culture. She said that as a collective the region should ensure the cultural sector remains relevant and become economically beneficial to persons of all social statuses.

Dr. the Hon. Gadsby-Dolly stated that Trinidad and Tobago has demonstrated its commitment to the development of our cultural assets by the drafting a national cultural policy, legislation to incentivize the sector inclusive of the film rebate and creation of a cultural eco-system by establishment of different art industries, commissions and heritage bodies.

CARIFESTA is one the region’s best cultural assets and according to T&T Culture Minister, preparations for CARIFESTA XIV, being hosted in Trinidad and Tobago in from August 16-25, 2019, have “been incorporating greater technological features, especially in the marketing department, to make the CARIFESTA experience more appealing to local, regional and international audiences. Everyone across the cultural spectrum, from the micro-entrepreneurs to the major industry players are working hand-in-hand to project the very best of our cultural DNA”.

Dr. the Hon. George Norton, Minister of Social Cohesion, Guyana, welcomed the Ministers and Officials to his country for the Meeting. He stated that it was up to them, the policy makers, to create an enabling environment for the development of artists through capacity building and technical assistance initiatives.

Over the two day meeting, robust discussions were held on the way in which CARICOM’s cultural assets can be used for sustainable development.

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