The Draft Cultural Industries Bill Needs To Be Widely Debated

There is a meeting scheduled for Thursday 5 April 2012 at 6PM. All those interested should visit the Empire Strikes Back Facebook Page and get involved..

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

During Budget 2011 the government promised to debate the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB) in parliament towards the end of that financial year. It is rapidly approaching the end of March 2012 and the revised date for debating this Bill is now slated for May according to a BU source. At face value many are happy that focus will be brought to a sector which has been neglected by successive governments. This is despite the potential of the sector for Barbadians to grow and promote cultural expression. BU is reminded that in Budget 2011 mention was made of of the government’s intention to guarantee a “special purpose vehicle, a facility to provide for the borrowing of $50 million dollars in amounts of $10 million every year for the next five years starting in 2012 to support this mechanism.” Obviously it makes no sense to float the bond issue before the CIB is enacted.

To ensure the foundation to successfully grow and promote the cultural industry is created, the importance of the creative industries component is integral to the process as exemplified during the UK Budget last week.   “In somewhat unexpected news, he [Chancellor George Osborne] also announced that tax relief would become available to the animation and video game sectors beginning in April 2013.” The fact that the draft of the CIB contains so many typos and even makes reference to Cap. 308, when is allotted to the Companies Act of the Laws of Barbados is foreboding to the seriousness; or lack of, by those leading the process in government. There is no reason why animation and video creation cannot be an avenue of opportunity for Barbadians given our level education and telecommunications infrastructure. The CIB will have to provide inducements to encourage change in mindset where we see ourselves as creators and not end users.

It is noteworthy that in the last 3 to 5 years African movies have become very popular. The film industry is another avenue which must be adequately addressed. The CIB must find the balance in its substance which encourages local industry and at the same time makes Barbados a location of choice to support world class productions. The Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley made mention in the recent debate of the Estimates that he has held discussions with potential clients in this regard. That film producers have to meet with a minister to explore opportunities in Barbados should worry us all. What does a minister know about the business, his role is leading policy formulation is it not? In the same way we have a Czar for AIDS advocacy, so too the film industry will need a person or committee possessed  with the knowledge and experience of the business of culture. There are millions of dollars to be made and the benefit to local industry operating in a space where the best in the sector is facilitated to ply their trade cannot be overstated. Remember the strategy is to nurture local talent and simultaneously enable the environment to entice players from the international arena to operate in Barbados.

There can be no doubt the proclamation of the CIB represents a significant piece of legislation in our post Independence period. Given our dependence on a tired economic model, it is imperative the CIB has the catalytic effect to grow the cultural industries and at the same time be a driver for economic activity.   It is worrying therefore to note the concern by many that the CIB has not been vigorously debated by a wide cross section of Barbadians. To date most of the feedback about the CIB has come from the usual suspects and has been mainly top down. It should come as no surprise if the current process is allowed to continue – to satisfy a general election agenda –  Barbadians would have allowed a government to enact a useless piece of legislation in its current form.

Let us get to the point. The draft CIB is nothing more than an opportunity to distribute jobs to the political hacks. What the CIB says, dressed up in legislative legalese, is that we will give the usual suspects a chance to bring arts industry equipment and supplies into Barbados possibly tax free, if you brown nose to some entity identified in the CIB. The members all of whom would be cherry picked by the minister. The government will also give you a tax break and the fact that most arts undertakings are for cash and there is ripping off the tax people big time already, counts for nothing. Most importantly, a cabinet which has been labelled the biggest ever in our post Independence period will probably have to be increased by one. Government as we have seen, even in the current challenging economic environment, will seize the opportunity to give jobs to those who need to suck on the teat of the fatted calf.

To develop and effectively manage culture to use the jargon, requires a paradigm shift to how we now do business. To burden the process by establishing a layer of bureaucracy is not recommended. In the competitive world we live in to be nimble is a perquisite to success.  BU humbly suggests that a departure from the old way of appointing oversight bodies is required as far as the cultural industry is concerned.

One aspect of nurturing a successful cultural industry in Barbados is the need to enter and police the world of copyright. It is an expensive undertaking and requires personnel knowledgeable in this arm of law and practice. A read of the CIB and related discussion makes no mention of the world of copyright in any cogent way. At this mid to end stage of the process BU has misgivings about the path the CIB is following. Although Barbadians are generally passive about actively participating in their democracy – a paradox if ever there was one – the CIB serves as another opportunity for Barbadians to step up. Why should we wait until the CIB is read a first time in the Lower House to identify concerns? The recent crash of the Antiquities Bill should serve as a reminder that the process of drafting legislation which is fit for purpose is not always perfect. Coincidentally it is the same minister Stephen Lashley who is leading the CIB.

BU took the initiative to communicate with a few international producers and to a man and woman, the proposed CIB was cited as a document which will not achieve the aim. It is interesting to note from the feedback similar legislation in the Isle of Man, United Kingdom and Canada were cited as models which the Barbados government should follow. Additional feedback made it clear that if the government intends to attract international business to Barbados as part of the thrust to create economic opportunity in the creative industries, the draft CIB must be amended.

Feedback in summary:

Unsuccessful Programs

  • Corrupt officials and practices overhauled and at times destroyed any and all programs – In the past few years in the USA, state run tax incentives laws and film were shut down because of corruption. The same thing happened in Germany, a few were tossed in jail.
  • Culture Programs were structured by business and government officials who were qualified in their disciplines but were clueless about the business of culture (creative industries). The result a maze of convoluted processes which acted as a deterrent. Such a system again will breed corrupt practices by those with deep pockets who want to access tax incentives until exhausted.

Successful Programs

  • Tax incentives to lure investors must be competitive
  • Structures must be attractive and secure i.e.decisions/promises made must be delivered on or the word will spread in the industry fast.
  • There is a learning curve which can be travelled quickly by using Canada’s blueprint to develop a world class environment to support film production. In Canada and Israel for example although the creative industries operate under the ministry of arts and culture the legislative framework gives autonomy to the entities responsible for animation, film, new media and other creative industries. There must be a win win for investors, production, local talent, government and all the stakeholders.

In summary:

  1. The draft CIB is vague
  2. It is not clear how the CIB will nurture culture and coterminously create economic value. The two strategies must be hand in glove
  3. A vibrant culture cannot flourish if the output is not rigorously copyrighted. The world of copyright is complex and expensive but is a perquisite to create security for the local players in the culture space
  4. The success of the industry will require an oversight board which is broad based and knowledgeable. Definitely not government bureaucrats i.e.politicians and civil servants

BU does not usually compile lengthy blogs but the breath of this topic is wide. After 1500+ words large junks of information unfortunately had to be omitted.  Let us hope that the BU family and others in social media will use the opportunity to contribute to the Cultural Industries Bill which has the potential to grow a culture sector still in its nascent stage and at the same time explode growth in the creative industries which is  needed for the economic value in will offer.

40 thoughts on “The Draft Cultural Industries Bill Needs To Be Widely Debated


  1. “The Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley made mention in the recent debate of the Estimates that he has held discussions with potential clients in this regard.”

    He lie like shite …simple. And what is this business about making provisions for the next five years … They so convinced that they will still be in charge? Political parties piss me off. Their stunts have become repetitive and obvious


  2. What is the price tag attached so far to the production of this bill. It has taken almost a decade to get this far. Surely there must be a $ value attached to this …!


  3. @David. This is a truly excellent piece. I sent it, along with the draft of the Act to a friend of mine who is one of the top people (and lawyers) in the Canadian film and entertainments industry. I will not repeat the language that they used after having read the Act, but, interlaced with profanities, they said the Act was absolute garbage.

    Copyright internationally, with very few exceptions country-wise, is governed by the Berne Conventions. But you are right in that copyright and intellectual property law is a highly specialized field in countries with large international entertainment industries. And I can state categorically that there is no law firm or attorney-at-law in Barbados with the requisite on-the-job international experience. So, this is an area of law that will provide employment for the overabundance of young lawyers called yearly to the Bar, provided they do the work to qualify themselves.

    Video games and animation etc. are also a part of this industry. I have a friend who lives and works in the Orient, simply because he is an animator and special effects guy and a very large amount of the animation and special effects that we see in films is produced in oriental countries. Barbados is closer to home for the major studios of Hollywood, London and Toronto and therefore I agree that this is a massive opportunity that is being wasted by Barbados.

    Did the draft of this Act come from government? In other words, the Solicitor General’s office? If so, maybe the Solicitor General needs to be looking at the standard of his staff that could suggest that Chapter 308 of the Laws (which, as you point out, is the Companies Act) is the same as this. Extremely worrying.

    We all know the saying, “If you build it, they will come.” I firmly believe that if we put the correct and viable legislation and tax structure in place, the studios from Disney down will build their studios in Barbados and do much of their work here. That potentially could equal hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign currency coming into Barbados, Bajans offered employment, specialist training that fits young Bajans for international careers etc. Instead, as has been demonstrated to me, what we have is a “jobs for the boys” Act that will add to civil service expenditure, provide tax breaks to buddies and produce not one single cent of revenue for Barbados.

    My advice? Put the Act in the incinerator and start again. With, as you have suggested, an expert from somewhere like Canada or Israel who can identify the areas that need to be dealt with, has knowledge of and can equal or undercut what is on offer in major entertainment countries, can hire and train Bajans to operate and oversee the industry. Otherwise it is another Act requiring more expensive bureaucracy taking money out of taxpayers’ pockets and putting not one red cent back.


  4. @Amused | March 27, 2012 at 4:06 AM |

    Amused, I am on your side this time, no joke!
    The next big step by the Hitlerian minister is to engage the services of a consultant to advise on ‘the way going forward in order to review the draft bill and to come up with recommendations in the near future’.
    When the future of the Empire Building Restoration Project is clearly defined we will put our ears closer to the ground and try to hear what the minister has to say about culture.
    Maybe Stuart can do a mini reshuffle by removing responsibility for Family Affairs to its rightful place in the Ministry responsible for Social Care given what is being played out with our old folks abandoning them at the hospital and care homes.

    This might free up Mr. Lashley to focus on culture and sport. Then there would be no excuse for Bridgetown to lose its UNESCO designation as a place of special heritage, despite the noise, urine and garbage.


    • This blog was posted on Facebook on a page (Empire Strikes Back) where people from the Arts frequent and not a single comment for the day.

      If players in the industry do no not want to help themselves sometimes by offering constructive review of the CIB …


  5. Interesting that the Music Department at Community College has slashed drastically the time the student ensemble can practice. It seems the neighbours in the Tichbourne area have been complaining. It appears some believe that music isn’t important.

    Are we serious in this country?


  6. “Interesting that the Music Department at Community College has slashed drastically the time the student ensemble can practice. ”

    Only goes to show that only lip service is being paid to the creative industry in Bim and releasing the entrepreneurial energies of the youth. Just loads of political hot air.

    Any recent word from the Minister about the Empire Building Restoration?
    What about the much chest thumping announcement by Chris Sinckler about the Performing Arts Centre to be built down Brandons?

    Promises, promises! If these leaders don’t stop pissing around with the young people we could end up with a mini London riot scenario or a rerun of the1937 “today is a funny night’ movie making the Empire Building look like a luxury palace.


  7. Arguably the most stupid Minister ever to hold responsibility for cultural activity … (Wait like I faget Blackett)


  8. The Cultural Bill can happen IF the powers that be actually listen to what the artists, artistes and artisans are saying.

    I have watched so often as ministers and government bodies come to meetings to be visibly surprised by the intellect that comes from us creative persons. We do at times live in the clouds while creating but be assured that we have our heads on our shoulders.

    We have, most of us, had to get up and do it ourselves.

    We are not begging. Well, we would like to have funds, but begging suits no one.

    We are suggesting that we have a thriving arts scene due to individuals who make it happen.

    This bill could do much for us. Last night I spoke to another creative who suggested that there be a round table discussion. Less explaining of and more discussion. But a discussion where we creatives felt that our ideas would be implemented. We realise that not all can happen, but to see at least some suggestions be taken and moved on would be a start of closing this feeling of ‘them and us’. It would need to be with a facilitator.

    At the last BCSI meet for the bill at Combermere a few of us got up and put what I thought were very constructive suggestions and ideas. Plus constructive ideas on the use of the $50million.

    One of the reasons for lack of turn out for these meetings is that most creative people have heard the same before on matters of helping the arts and seen little happen.

    Let us be also clear on this. Government sees that the cultural sector is growing by leaps and bounds and brings in foreign currency.So it is in our interest for everyone to work together and make things happen.

    Surely even in the travel websites by Barbados government there should be section for ARTS, rather than being put into the shopping section with duty free etc?? The Arts need more respect. Give and you will get.


  9. Think my post got lost….anyhow David BU…Corrie Scott has sent out some 20-odd invitations to creative people and I have done the same to make some comments…I have referred all of them to this blog AND to the one on EMPIRE as well. It might be a good idea to join these sections if you can. Iain Deane’s comments are indeed worthy….I am not techie for all of this…but you should have the concentrated effort (hopefully) on one page where comments can be seen by the illustrious who make up these weird bills that seem to just be to help one another…but then if we the creatives do not stand up…who is to blame eh? Song by Perth Country Conspiracy: “come to the edge…come to the edge…and they came…and they flew.” Seems to be that is all we ever do in this country about anything at all goes like this:…we come to the edge, we whine, we carry on, we disrespect each other, we ‘cuss and get on and den we fly…fly away in the words of The Merrymen’s song if I had the wings of a dove!


  10. Just look at the amount of artists we have right here in Barbados…Corrie Scott & Kathy Yearwood are to thank for this comprehensive look at them and their work…and this has gone all over the world…but can we unite right here on the island to stand up for a culture bill and what is wrong with it?….we shall soon see!

    I actually feel these two ladies are the ones to be placed on a committee to look carefully at this bill and make their points known to government for the visual artists….musicians, authors etc. should have their own voices also that speak….But I will admit to feeling despondent myself…we have talked and talked and nothing has ever been done…one gets tired of the lonely voice in the wilderness that no one hears. In fact because the voice is loud it is sometimes quietly shut up in ways that one cannot even see coming at ya.

    So both sides are at fault as I see it.

    Personally, I am at a loss to think how those who put together this bill cannot see the wrongs within same…how can you write a bill that will affect the whole country and yet you ent really know the craziness you putting down on it gine harm the island as a whole and just help a few chosen ones…man oh! man!! Look wey we reach!!!

    http://issuu.com/corriescott/docs/art_directory_barbados_dec_2011


  11. Creativity by its very nature necessitates an environment of more freedom and less but targeted regulation. I beleive that along with the bill, parents and teachers need a “cultural ” shift.
    We need to encourage our musicians,artists, craftsmen,vocalists,dancers,etc.Too often in schools and homes in Barbados, these subjects and areas of interest are not as highly acclaimed as the other academic areas and children are often encouraged to put these areas aside in the hopes of “getting a real job”.
    Until we destroy that attitude and mindest, we will continue to wage a psychological war on cultural entrepreneurship.
    The Minister is seeking to advance the process and The cultural industries bill can be a step in the right direction but it needs to be affirmed and supported by a changing mindset of our society.


    • @!

      A read of this blog clearly supports the need for ‘relevant’ legislation.

      That is the point, RELEVANT.


  12. @David….I have had reports that when those who want to comment try to do so from the post placed on EMPIRE STRIKES BACK…they were unable to get to this page. I tried it and it is true. The message on BU comes up that “we are unable to find this post”. And you have not posted the Facebook comments either. This is an important discussion so perhaps one needs to do whatever so one can to incorporate what has already been written on Facebook and see if we can get this discussion going and finalized properly. I have motivated those I know but they are unable to get in. Please advise.


    • Hi Rosemary

      The link was updated. Some feel more comfortable posting on FB based on previous feedback. Will update when a conversation gets going. What do you think?


  13. This may be of interest as to the art market and world economies. Big reason why the arts need attention in Bim.
    “How big is the global art market? A new report from The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), released in conjunction with the current TEFAF Maastricht art fair, Mar. 16-25, 2012, sets the total size of the global art market at €46.1 billion, or about $60.8 billion (€1 = $1.32) for 2011.” http://www.artnet.com/magazineus/news/artnetnews/china-the-worlds-top-art-and-antique-market.asp


    • Thanks Corrie, the size of the opportunity to help our local players in the ARTs is huge.

      Can anyone speak to what the BTA/Government and BCCI have been doing to buy local to decorate/adorn their properties? There seem to be the first inclination to buy foreign which is wrapped up in ostentation and a feeling that foreign is best.


  14. millertheanunnaki | March 27, 2012 at 5:47 PM |

    This might free up Mr. Lashley to focus on culture and sport. Then there would be no excuse for Bridgetown to lose its UNESCO designation as a place of special heritage, despite the noise, urine and garbage.
    **************************************************
    Don’t hold your breath, but retaining the UNESCO designation seems to be an impossible task. Over the years I have taken many photos of Bridgetown and have posted them in Flickr. (BU ,and quite recently Barbados Today have used a couple of my photos,albeit without permission, but I do not mind ). These days I am very reluctant to post photos of Bridgetown on the site ,listing them under the grouping of UNESCO World Heritage Site ,as It is almost impossible to take a picture anywhere in Bridgetown and its environs, and not to have a pile of garbage, unsightly dustbins or portable thunderboxes, ie chemical toilets dominating the scene.
    Recently I paid a visit to the Pier Head where the Coast Guard was located. I do not think that area has been cleaned since the Military pulled out of there and the build up of garbage and debris is horrendous. And this is an area catering to sea going visitors.
    If we retain the Bridgetown UNESCO World Heritage site designation, it may be reduced to the buildings and compound of the Public Buildings.


  15. David what are the obstacles in Barbados to selling Art or music online ?
    Credit card ? Paypal ? Money order ?


  16. David wrote “don’t know why local artistes have not accessed.”

    That is unfortunate. There are “Independent” artistes in North America who create and sell their music online.
    Bajans should do the same.

    I went to a restaurant in Barbados and they had paintings by local artists for sale.
    Maybe the Restaurant could work with the artists and create a website to sell the paintings and also advertise the restaurant.


  17. @ Hants | April 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM |
    “Maybe the Restaurant could work with the artists and create a website to sell the paintings and also advertise the restaurant.”

    That’s what is called real thinking outside the box. Even champers would provide you with a free meal on every visit for free advertising (lol!!). Business is about symbiosis aka ‘you scratch my back I will scratch yours too’. That’s the only way small businesses will survive.

    Another thing Hants, many of the buildings in this Tropical isle could do with a bit of ‘colour’. Why not tap into the creative juices of the local artists by commissioning them to paint murals tastefully done but not so distractingly that would depict some historic event or person of national importance or peculiar to the location or local community.
    Even the limestone walls that make up the verges to our roads can be painted in appropriate places to tell the back breaking history of the island. During our snail pace journeys on our busy roads we rarely even remember to enjoy those rare sightings of the sea offered by the few windows far less contemplate on those hardworking souls who with basic tools cut through those limestone hills to make cart roads now traversed by Japanese mechanical donkeys. The private sector can contribute by way of sponsorship with a bit of advertising thrown in. But it must be tastefully and subtly done and well maintained.


  18. Without visuals, without art, without words, without music, we are just animals.

    We creative souls bring culture and civilization to the table.

    What we creatives want is for government to listen and actually follow up. And to be given a voice and given respect. And support.

    I believe that the passing of this bill and the call for talks is a desire to take us forward and help us but I believe it is also being done in a beaurocratic manner and is creating a larger rift. We need to come together, work together, support each other and get the arts out there. There is so much talent in Barbados. But it needs to be in a manner that we creatives do not feel that it is almost like a school teacher telling us what is good for us and then giving us the floor for a few minutes and then going back to deciding ‘what is good for us’.

    For too many years we are asked to forums, seminars, talked to, talked at, allowed to speak for a few minutes if we are lucky. And as I said before, many good ideas have been suggested, very few followed up on.

    The reason most of us have given up on this and cannot be bothered to attend/get involved/speak is because many of us feel it is futile and is just a panacea to make us think we are involved in the decision making. Plus many have fears about speaking up and being victimised as troublemakers. I, for one, am known as being honest and outspoken but I would prefer to be in my studio creating, not banging my head on the proverbial wall. But I will continue to speak up as if we do not, then we cannot oppose what others do for us in government and other entities.

    All we creatives want is to be able to create, and to get help, and to be facilitated in a manner that can ease the way.

    Out of frustration at the arts not getting out there many of us have taken it upon ourselves to create avenues and exposure for the arts in Bim. We do this gratis, FREE, for the love of what we do. But if we could get help in a manner that is not tied up in a most beaurocratic way that is so off putting and time wasting/consuming ( and I cannot imagine what moneys have been spent by government on this bill so far) it would make things happen and move forward. We do realise that we cannot make everything we want to happen but if Barbados is looking to make itself a cultural oasis and gain foreign revenue from it we almost need to wipe the slate clean and start again. This time with creative persons on board as well as consultants and government entities.

    well said Jim McGowan “In a persistant environment of being heard but ultimately feeling neglected the people lose confidence in their collective or individual ability to make a difference through getting involved and ultimately a pervasive sense of futility sets in. There are many more passionate people who, if they felt their participation would yield results and would effect positive change, would get involved, but evidence of results and outcomes to date do not inspire confidence to even make an effort for many. This is a systemic problem and the process of engaging people is what is the root of any percieved ambivilence to discuss the bill either on this forum or at the formal forum.”

    and John Roett “So if any Government wants to impress me, start by saying “We want to make things better for you. We realise you have been struggling all your lives, and only recently have we deemed you worthy of consultation on anything of which you actually have the knowledge, and given you improved status after being second class citizens all your lives. We apologise for thinking all these years that you were uneducated people who could find nothing better to do, and would sincerely appreciate your professional input FROM THE START, as we prepare this document”.


  19. I can’ wait fah Allison Seally to become CEO of the NCF and clearing out all dem academics from the organization and the redundant Ministry which will mean of course shutting the damned Ministry of Culture down, with all of its executives and consultants. They are a grouping of completely useless parasites. Culture and wider Industrial development requires the input of artisans, active people who do and know how to get things done, not jokers with certification.


  20. Could you imagine the continued selection of people from the most bureaucratic of professions heading up the board of the NCF …? Again, not for the first time… BARE SHITE MAN


  21. Ms Scott is misrepresenting an agenda. Creatives need a selling arm to expose their skills to markets (no matter where there are). Product is measured through quality and the level of sales that is generated. Effective sellers facilitate this process. And sales mean money in the pockets of both sellers and producer (creatives). The end tale is, like everyone else, Creatives need to earn, and it is through earning that respect is delivered. If Ms Scott prefers to ask (beg) for respect she obviously will prove to have a good deal of time on her hands.

    Of course in the process of designing, producing and selling in order to have a viable productive sector there will be NO need for engineers, material scientists, food technologists, technicians, but a GREAT need for lawyers, accountants, bankers, merchants, doctors (wait, yesterday was all fools day … I faget …)


  22. Yes, Bajans can now have seller’s accounts with PayPal.com. You just need a Visa debit card / chequing account.

    There are also online marketplaces like Etsy.com, Artflock and DeviantArt where they can sell their art, music and crafts internationally. It’s free to open a store on most of them.


  23. As Corrie Scott and others have said above, so many times in the past cultural practitioners have submitted suggestions, ideas and written proposals to government agencies responsible for culture without any real response or inclusion, many of them have become disgusted. However I believe that now there is an actual bill outlined and available for debate everyone involved needs to contribute. One of the issues that is integral for the growth of the visual arts I believe is that a “percentage for visual art program” must be embedded in the building code for commercial buildings, whether government or private owned. It should be clearly stated what portion of funds set aside for art in such buildings should be allocated to local and Caricom artists. We most definitely need a home for the Barbados National Collection where job skills and career opportunities can be developed in all the professional areas important to the visual arts including curators, intellectual property, conservation, etc. Copyright and Intellectual Property Law is a huge potential growth area which will also develop along with the Cultural Industries. The movement of artwork itself produced by local and Caricom artists should be duty free within the region, as it is when the works are sent outside to Europe and North America. It is totally counter productive to apply duty to creative products produced by artists and artisans in the region as if they were manufactured products or products with a shelf life. There is much room for debate about this proposed Bill.


  24. I voted poorly on the contrib above because he probably enjoys being played… This bill has and will continue to find work for people, not the artist(e)s, but those in the ancillary services who have and intend to continue drawing its completion out for as long as possible. Even in its present form as so many have realized, even after all the time that has already been spent and all of the referrals to similar efforts abroad, it still is seriously short of the mark. There is obviously an agenda that does not include those for whom it supposedly is designed for. And again the Minister that is currently responsible (as indeed so many of his predecessors) is a member of the Laziest and most Un(counter)productive sect in Barbados. How the hell can you expect him to meaningfully relate to any aspect of a fledgeling product effort.


  25. Anderson Pilgrim says, “……..cultural practitioners have submitted suggestions, ideas and written proposals to government agencies responsible for culture without any real response or inclusion, many of them have become disgusted. However I believe that now there is an actual bill outlined and available for debate everyone involved needs to contribute.” Mr. Pilgrim goes on to discuss visual arts.

    I ask, in terms of film, if it is for one second imagined that the so-called “cultural practitioners” are the only ones with a stake in this Bill? A film starts with a script, ergo a writer – and that is a “cultural practitioner”. It then goes to a producer – who is a businessman and who approaches as high a profile director as he can find and likely afford and also box office name actors, as these actually do have power to bring in at least a part of the production money. The producer then sends it all to his executive producer, who is part financial and part legal. The executive sends it to lawyers and financial institutions and all together they hammer out the basis on which the money (many millions of dollars) are provided for the making of the film – this includes choice of country (costs are considerably reduced due to the enlightened tax incentives provided by Canada and Israel and the Isle of Man and the UK seems set to join in this as well). Meanwhile the lawyers are checking the script to make sure that copyright, intellectual property and trademarks are not breached. They are also receiving information from a casting director as to what terms have been negotiated with cast members and putting these into contract form. Meanwhile the production team is off scouting and renting locations, hiring carpenters, masons, set designers, ground transport, air transport, hotels, caterers, electricians, portable generators, camera and sound crews and their equipment……and on and on AND dealing with the individual unions of each of these and sometimes having to deal with governments of countries in respect to work permits, policing, security, finance (after all, they will be wanting to bring in a hell of a lot more than $10,000 and that involves the Central Bank).

    So, the stakeholders in this sort of Bill are not just the “cultural practitioners” but indeed it extends to every group of professionals, every union and every industry in Barbados. This is NOT a venture that is the sole province of the Minister of Culture and his happy gang of total incompetents that seek to supplant Cap 308, which is the Companies Act, with this piece of crap that will provide well paid jobs for civil servants, trips and “cultural” excursions for civil servants, all at the expense of the taxpayer and, and I give you my word, bring not one cent in revenue into Barbados.

    This proposed Bill has all the hallmarks of having been cooked up by a bunch of students and academics at the UWI and bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the realities of the international entertainment industry.

    My suggestion is to chuck the draft into the garbage, hire an experienced LA consultant, look to the systems of Canada, Israel and the Isle of Man and formulate a Bill around that consultant’s advice on how to slightly undercut Canada, Israel and the Isle of Man to secure at least a part of this multi-billion dollar industry for Barbados. THAT would be money well spent.

    The arts community is moaning about getting a Bill……any Bill……on the books. Great. Biggest load of hogwash I have ever heard. You put this Bill on the books and you will be waiting 20 years to get it amended as respective government play civil service popularity by keeping sweet the administration of the bill who will fight tooth and nail to protect the tenure of their jobs in which they have to do sweet FA.

    I personally think that, given the scope of the real stakeholders, this is far too large and complex an undertaking for the Ministry of Culture and, given the enormous size of the income that, properly done, this could generate, it deserves to be overseen from the Prime Minister’s office.

    The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Osborne) reported to the House in his budget speech last week that entertainment (which includes animation and video games as well as more traditional thing like film and TV) had brought in to the UK some £1 billion in foreign capital in the last year and he was putting in place measures to hopefully bring this up to £3 billion a year within the next two years.

    Well, I think that we ought to make a concerted effort to frustrate Mr. Osborne and to “divert” as large a part of those billions of pounds as possible into the coffers of Barbados. BUT, we are NOT going to do it with this piece of unspeakable rubbish that has been produced by the Ministry of Culture as a CIB.


  26. Iain Deane

    I like you bad as shite but I must ask you with respect, if you have any information of the track record of these political administrations on facilitating Productive Enterprise of ANY kind …. because if you do and, in the very best case, the plan that you have described is developed to the black and white stage, you could NOT possibly believe that these f#cks have the wherewithal to follow through, implement and maintain this to any worthwhile level.

    All that is happening my friend is, again, is that a grouping in Barbados is being used to provide present day jobs for executive bureaucrats to create legal frameworks and policy documents and go on overseas exploratory and fact finding missions etc while providing an opportunity to mount a platform and brag about a promise that is to be realized … again. And when they have had their fill of this group they will move to the next which is shaping up to be the alternative energy people …

    Nice try though …


  27. There is a deep suspicion on the part of BU that generally speaking Barbadians do not understand what a decent legislative framework can do for Barbados to fan the indigenous cultural and creative industries as well as spawn international opportunities. Sadly this includes the fourth estate and other key actors in civil society. The lethargy being exhibited challenges our so called level of education.

  28. Pingback: The Cultural Industries Bill is Too Important To Be Hijacked By a Few With Agendas | Barbados Underground

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