Difficult times for local entertainers

The Barbados Association of Creatives and Artistes (BACA) is still awaiting official word from government about how they can help the entertainment sector.

BACA President, Sean “Apache” Carter, said the organisation has reached out to government requesting some financial assistance for entertainers. He said this was formally done two weeks ago via a letter which was sent to the “Prime Minister’s Office and we copied in Minister John King as well”.

He said the BACA has not “receive an official response to the letter”. However, he said the BACA would have heard a news story carried on radio recently in which the Culture Minister, “basically, he was saying that entertainers must understand that government is under financial restraints at this time.

“We heard that, but then when the announcement was made on Tuesday that there would be a further two weeks [for the National Pause], it was also announced that these shopkeepers… the financial assistance that was given for the first two weeks would also be extended into this other two. For us, it is like you are saying that things are tough, which we know, things are tough for government, we understand that, you can’t find money to assist the entertainers financially, but here you go again finding money to assist the shopkeepers who have been working for six, seven, eight months that the entertainers have not been working.”

Carter stated the plight facing some of this island’s entertainers is dire. He explained that due to the impact of COVID-19 on Barbados and the reduction in entertainment events during the past year and the elimination of events in 2021, many entertainers have been out of work. He highlighted that those working in the hotel sector have not had employment for almost a year now.

Carter said during this time many have relied on their savings to cover their daily expenses, however some have exhausted these funds. He added artistes have been rallying around each other and providing support where possible.

“Every day that passes is like a screw that is tightening and with the tightening of this screw, it is added pressure that is being put on these entertainers,” he lamented.

“The overall impact of COVID-19 on our members has been to this stage now devastating. Many persons, the last time they would have worked would have been in March last year, and so a lot of persons have exhausted the savings they would have had on the bank. So there are about 20 persons to the top of my mind who are in dire need. We would have assisted those who we can how we can, but as a young, fledgling organisation, there is only so much that we could have done.”

He added, “It is very difficult and that is not an exaggeration at all. It is very, very, very difficult for the entertainment industry and for the artistes overall. The national pause right now really hasn’t made a difference because they were already in that state of having no work, having nowhere to go, and…even after this pause and many of us would go back out to work, still there is no work for entertainers… It is going to be a while before the hotel industry catches back itself and picks back up to the point where they are rehiring entertainers.”

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