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Allison Hinds (left) and ‘Hypasounds’ making their way into Parliament to listen to debate on the Cultural Industries Development Bill.


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Cultural impact


GOVERNMENT is preparing to undertake a mapping exercise of the cultural industries sector, in order to determine the extent to which the sector contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of this country.

Word of this has come from the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he indicated that Government – in conjunction with the University of the West Indies – will be conducting a major study in the area. He made the disclosure in the House of Assembly yesterday morning as the House began debate on the Cultural Industries Development Bill.

“…We have already gotten some expert guidance through a UNESCO consultancy, which was completed only earlier this year and we now have a model upon which we can proceed to have an arrangement done, for the mapping of our cultural industries sector,” he said.

Minister Lashley explained that the mapping exercise will allow Government, the private sector and local cultural practitioners to easily assess the input value of the cultural industries, in a way that creates the most scientific approach to how the input of the sector is regarded.

“...Things such as exit surveys in relation to persons who visit Barbados and other specialised surveys will be done, to ensure that we can certainly utilise the information which is necessary for proper planning,” the culture minister said.

He made the point as he noted that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Global Database on the Creative Economy reported that world trade in creative goods and services totalled a record US$624 billion in 2011, and this figure was up from US$559 billion, which was recorded in 2010.

“Global exports of such goods and services such as art and craft and books; graphic and interior design work; fashion; film; music and new media; printed media, visual as well as audio visual, picked up in 2011 globally – according to the latest statistic available – from US$536 billion in 2009 and US$559 billion in 2010. And this sector has now exceeded its pre-crisis peak of US$620.4 billion in exports in 2008,” he said.

He said that according to UNCTAD, the minor decrease in the overall consumption of creative products after 2008 reflected the fragility of the post-crisis recovery in developed countries, mainly due to the rise of public deficits, currency volatility and high levels of unemployment, particularly in the most advanced economies.

“What makes the cultural industries so attractive for us in Barbados as a tool for economic success, is that of all the sectors, of all the sectors of the world and how they have been impacted on during the ongoing global financial meltdown, the cultural industries or the creative sector, has indeed been the most resilient and the most resistant to economic recession,” he said.

The Minister told the Lower House that research has shown that this particular sector has hardly been touched by the global economic meltdown and therefore represents for us in Barbados a relevant model for economic expansion. He added that UNCTAD officials have indicated that the prospects for continued growth in the sector are good, as the creative economy reflects contemporary lifestyles, increasingly associated with social networking innovation, connectivity, style and passion. (JRT)

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