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Saturday, July 7, 2012


A previous PowerHouse article took issue with the authorities for allowing our Flower Festivals to crumble, while one million dollars each year is being poured into Carnival to keep it afloat. Despite this huge financial injection, major problems persist and apparently, the formula does not seem to be working as anticipated.

It was announced this week that three major Carnival bands went down because of funding constraints and that's as ironic as unbelievable! The Carnival Stakeholders Committee appointed by the last administration and kept by this administration apparently could not mobilise funds in a timely manner to maximise participation.

Serious questions are also being raised about the new framework for judging calypso. It is mooted that creativity and originality which characteristically underline the art form are being compromised. It is a serious moot point which needs review as there are at least two calypsos which made it to the finals that demonstrably do not sound original; and if that is the case, then it is a serious indictment on the judges.

Moreover, a new and emerging “twanche” phenomenon which takes whining to the edge of the extreme is stamping its authority on the carnival landscape. Do we nurture twanche as a positive expression of creativity? Should we make it part and parcel of our creative industries?

While many (of the likes of Adrian Augier) claim that the ad hoc Carnival stakeholder committee (CSC) represents an improvement over CDF, to me it is just a political “Trojan Horse” in the midst of our bacchanal and I don’t believe it will solve the complex problems facing our “Mas”. My impression is the former government had a “fiduciary” problem with the CDF and the CSC was just s stop gap measure, an experiment to iron out that problem.

One may even want to go further to say that the CSC is an affront to CDF which the statutory body vested with mandate for “things carnival”; and although "Boots" and the CDF team seem to be blissfully “at home” with the idea (and I wonder why), my own recommendation to the Minister for the Creative Industries is to dismantle that structure forthwith - for I don’t believe it was progressive. Now that he has appointed a new Board under the stewardship of former AG and Foreign Affairs Minister, he should give it the latitude to do some “free-hitting”

But we can’t be too hard on the new Minister; he is just getting his feet wet and in due course, we expect him to make the fundamental and imaginative changes that would make the cultural industries vibrant and viable; being Minister for Tourism puts him in a strategically ideal position to do so and we hope he will in due course engender a measure of integration and symbiosis between the two portfolios.

One of our expectations is to have the Tourist sector invest more in the development of carnival because they are the major beneficiaries of it.

Another expectation (perhaps in the longer term) is to ensure a more equitable distribution of our "allocations" so that it filters to all “sectors” of the creative economy. While Kenny made a progressive shift in the configuration of the Ministries; let’s pray that it gets far beyond a “name change”.

According to the literature, the creative industries are very complex and far-ranging. One writer (Hesmondhalgh, 2002) contends there are varying definitions of the sector but refers to it as “a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information”.  Another writer (Howkins 2001) collectively refers to industries as “the creative economy” which includes “advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, R&D, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games”.

Generally speaking, there is consensus in the literature that the creative industries have been seen to become increasingly important to economic well-being and proponents (such as Landry & Bianchini) suggest that "human creativity is the ultimate economic resource," and that “the industries of the twenty-first century will depend increasingly on the generation of knowledge through creativity and innovation"

The new minister must remain on top of those complexities of the industry and I would advise him to factor them into his policy initiatives.  As the first Minister for that portfolio, he has the unique opportunity to give it viability, vibrancy and shape.

Let's all wish him the best in that regard!

Meanwhile, his constituency will be celebrating its Music Festival/Carnival in October. We tried it last year and it was a resounding success; and with our Parliamentary Rep being the Minister for the Creative Industries, we would naturally expect it to be even better this year.

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