(Photo courtesy of CARICOM Secretariat)
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The Deputy Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Dr. Armstrong Alexis, said the region’s creative industries have suffered due to “insufficient government and private sector investment and incentives for the sector”.
Alexis, who was speaking at the virtual launch of the Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development project, said the latter needs to be addressed urgently if the region is to build a more resilient creative sector.
“Play” is a three-year, multi-million dollar investment aimed at significantly developing the region’s cultural and creative industries. The project supported by a grant from the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union (OACP-EU) will be implemented by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture (UNESCO), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caricom Secretariat.
The project receives financial and technical support from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) under a proposed facility for a viable cultural industry: supporting cultural and creative industries in OACP countries.
Explaining the concept of ‘Play’ enshrined in the name Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development, Alexis said that ‘Play’ is deeply rooted in the cultural expressions of the Caribbean.
He said this is manifested through carnivals and festivals as well as the region’s dynamic musical inventions like reggae, dancehall, calypso, soca, punta, bouyon, compa, calsa and segment. dennery.
“’Play’ is also enshrined in the steel pan – the only acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century. The “game” is ubiquitous in the literary work of the region’s many internationally renowned writers – including two Nobel Prize winners in literature – and through our publishers, who have enriched the global literary canon.
“The ‘play’, ladies and gentlemen, is part of the richness of our performing arts in dance, theater and storytelling, to name a few. Through this pervasive ecosystem of ‘play’, the Caribbean continues to be culturally expressive, prolific and provocative, while seeking to overcome its vulnerabilities and challenges,” the Deputy Secretary-General said at the virtual launch Thursday.
He said he remains optimistic that Creative Caribbean will foster a strong cultural ecosystem that will withstand shocks such as those experienced during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Alexis said that national festivals and the Festival of Caribbean Arts (CARIFESTA) stand to benefit from the capacity building activities that will be implemented under the project.
He said this was important because festivals generate direct revenue streams through sponsorship, ticket sales and merchandise. Secondary revenue also comes from expenses related to airfare, hotel accommodation, car rental, and hair, makeup, and fashion services for clients; catering, media and promotion, technical support for sound, stage, light and festival management; and street vendors.