Developing Sports and Culture, the Way Forward

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Sports and Culture

Currently, the sports and culture ministries fall under the same minister. In the minds of most Barbadians these two ministries rank poorly when compared to finance, economic affairs, health, education and foreign affairs. This is unfortunate, the ability of Barbados to sustain a lifestyle anchored in consumption requires a never ending quest to be competitive by fully developing all of our productive sectors.

The current reality which sees Barbados totally reliant on tourism in 2012 sums it up. On this note BU restates its support for Trevor Browne and Craig Archer who have taken on the Herculean task to oust the ensconced Steve Stoute and Erskine Simmons. And also call on Erskine ‘Boozer’ King, head of the national sports council, to step aside. With a new leadership in position at two of our critical sports authorities there is hope that a new dispensation will breed success.

Despite half billion investment in ‘traditional’ education annually by successive governments the potential of sports and culture remains hidden in the rough. An example of how serious we are about culture and how we treat with stakeholders in this sector can be seen in the initiative to find a solution for the restoration of the Empire theatre. One year later, nothing.

How about a minister who manages one of the more demanding ministries of government but refuses to step down from the presidency of the Barbados Football Association (BFA). It does not matter that in the last four years Barbados has fallen to 175th in the FIFA rankings.

To cap how serious we are about culture we turn to the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB) which this government found in draft when it assumed office. Another general election looms and the CIB still has to be debated in the House of Assembly. If government was serious about seeking ways to expand our productive sectors, proclaiming the CIB would have been a year one priority. If government was serious about Sports a national strategic plan would have been mobilized in year one of its term. Instead we continue to squeeze the tired economic model which has outlived its relevance in today’s world.

BU wishes the Barbados government every success enacting the CIB albeit at the eleventh hour.  From all reports Minister Stephen Lashley will be relying on grants – did we hear 50 million? – from the EU/UNESCO to kick start the culture sector. The following story maybe of interest. One of the great heritage sites in Europe is under threat because of the inability to source funding. One wonders how successful Andrew Senior et al can be in brokering scarce funding from the EU/UNESCO for the Barbados government. We know there is a lot riding on the deal with KIVA waiting in the wings  but it is what it is.

Where there is no vision…

  • Mottley and LIME football $100,000 kick off….will Lashley engage (as last year).. wid.David Thompson Football Tournament ? Power play indeed.


  • Here is an opportunity to make a difference. Send this blog to your friends if they are members of sporting organizations and ask them to step up!


  • @ David
    Most my peers long gone….and the balance once flee footed, gone the ways of Sittin Bull…


  • @Onions

    The importance of a blog post is not always determined by the number of comments which follow, especial when many of the comments are vacuous at best.

    We have become a people easily satisfied by mediocrity.


  • It is all well and good to say that the CIB should be passed. How can anyone in this country allow a CIB to be made into law when (a) there is no policy for culture and this surely should surely come first – policy and then legislation. Not the other way around.

    Secondly…the original Bill was so seriously flawed, it would be a sad day in paradise if that was ever passed. I am definitely apolitical, all I want to see is fairness for all and a little island that can stand tall and proud again with creatives who are respected in every which way. So I am not understanding why any Minister of Culture should be given the authority by law to look at anyone and ‘decide’ whether they are creative or not and whether they are deserving of funds. This, to me, continues to allow favouritism within both political parties and more than that allows openly for funds to ‘disappear’.

    When one is talking millions of dollars coming in from wherever…we have as a country to show the ultimate respect and make sure that disbursement of said funds be taken very seriously. Right now I will not be the one to point any fingers, but that remains a very questionable area. Perhaps this is why the CIB is taking long to be passed…perhaps our current Minister of Culture wishes to ensure that all these t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted…and rightly so! I believe that Minister Lashley must totally understands this… hence his ensuring that some 40 amendments (according to his radio announcement on a programme with Carol Roberts not too long ago) are in fact in place. Particularly when he must be aware that certain creatives (a term used loosely here unfortunately) are biting at the bit to get this Bill passed for the sole reason that they appear to believe they and only they will be recipients to the largesse that same is supposedly going to make available to them. Hmmm. Sorry guys but I believe our Ministers are far too intelligent, far too caring for the people who voted them in to allow such a thing to even begin to take place.

    Now the sad part is…one of those little birds that keep flying around my head intimated to me the other day that there were some amendments being bandied about and that they were indeed a complete joke. So back to the genius table they went for it was pointed out that amendments to a Bill should not just contain a few commas and a dot here and there.

    But what is sad if it is true…is that since then…it appears that a chosen few have now received a second set of amendments….and that these show even more flaws..I do not want to even begin to believe this. Not after all this time. Not after so many ‘meetings’ and ‘submissions’ by creatives. I think yet another question should be asked here…who is in charge of ensuring that these amendments are in fact what they should be? Are they aware that a Bill that ensures that ALL creatives of this island are treated equally. is the Bill that will be allowed to pass without even a whisper from the creatives of this island who are already up in arms with the goings on that are being rumoured. Surely any government should not seek to make money off of creatives only…this is a two-way street and respect is due. All this talk of entrepreneurship…who are the entrepreneurs…not ALL creatives?

    Now I have even more questions and these are not just my questions. As a creative these are the questions beings asked all over the island by creatives such as myself.

    Why if indeed there are amendments they are not posted on the GIS website for all to see? We creatives have been waiting for this for the longest while.and surely since this Bill addresses us, why can we not be part and parcel of this exercise? I was under the impression that this government said they would be totally transparent…so what is the beef? What is the secrecy about this Bill?

    And then…we have the most important question of all…Is this money supposedly being hung over the island by UNESCO the reason for such cloak and dagger behaviour on the part of those in charge of ensuring it arrives safely on our shores?

    If this is indeed so and I certainly do not want to even believe the rumours…(we Bajans love to chat chat chat…you ent know)…then we the people need to be far more vigilant because I would think that surely not one of our Ministers/Ministries/people would want to be embarrassed globally more than we have been already by funds that come in for a particular reason and suddenly disappear within the cracks of those who are in charge of disbursement. Word is that this has happened in the past…and MOST IMPORTANTLY word is that the creatives of this island do not wish it to happen again.

    I say there is only one way to make it all clear…said it before but will just mention it again in case it went over the heads of some…PUT THE AMENDMENTS UP ON THE GIS WEBSITE AND TELL THE PEOPLE TO GO HAVE A PEEP. Simple tings got simple answers.


  • @Rosemary

    Four and one half years…


  • I guess for those then, the meduila oblongata became influenced endearingly by the moniker and so stemmed surreptitiously.


  • Are they aware that a Bill that ensures that ALL creatives of this island are treated equally. is the Bill that will be allowed to pass without even a whisper from the creatives of this island who are already up in arms with
    the goings on that are being rumoured.

    Do apologize…this should have read:

    Are ‘they’ aware that a Bill that ensures that ALL creatives on this island are treated equally is the ONLY Bill that will be allowed to pass without even a whisper from those same creatives who are already up in arms with the goings on that are being rumored.


  • BU wishes the Barbados government every success enacting the CIB albeit at the eleventh hour.
    Enacting or playing football with at the 11th hour? Let’s see what else is also there besides CIB…..

    Integrity Legislation
    Alexandra final decision
    CLICO repatriation plan
    Barrack payment
    UWI outstanding pledges
    Deloitte Re-address

    Why is this not what we are accustomed?……has anything changed?


  • BU will NOT be swayed from blogging about issues WE feel passionate.


  • David…it boggles the mind. Four and half years to put together a simple Bill that will work for ALL. It began with the previous government…and I read that Bill and it was to say the least a piece of very very strange artwork. Then came the one placed on GIS website. Glad it was there ’cause I could read for myself what everyone was laughing about. Since then what? I read with much interest the submissions by one particular group and placed here on BU months ago…here is a paper that seeks to make the entire playing field fair, so to say that the creatives of this island have not been doing their homework, is very unfair. What is apparent is that those in charge of coming up with amendments perhaps did not see it fit to even read same. Or was it too high, too intelligent for them? I really have to wonder.

    Life can be made difficult and life can be made easy. We have choices. If the Ministry of Culture and those who have been given the mandate to produce amendments fit for the island wish to take the difficult path, the creatives of this island will not stand idly by. We (a huge number of this population) have nothing to lose…we are a lost lot anyhow…for Barbados has always been sadly known as an island that rips the creativity outta ya. One has to either leave the island or go to the east coast shores to breathe in new air, be filled with ozone for the brain, in order to be able to create ’cause every which way we turn near the seat of government on this side, is whipping we get. And whilst in some circles this might be considered something to revere in the confines of one’s bedroom, this is not an act that should be bandied about amongst those of us who really have something that is considered excellent to bring to the table.


  • @ David
    Barbados is really in some trouble.
    Our failure to appreciate the potential value of sport/ culture/ Arts to this country as a resource that goes directly to the heart of the development of the society is frightening.

    Surely we should be very concerned with the management of such vital potential in our country. It seems that the only things that motivate Bajans are the trimmings – like big shows, big rides, and gossip about other people’s misfortunes.

    The development of the arts and culture as a business, and indeed the development of sport as a business, has potential dramatic benefits for all segments of our society. It is inconceivable that in this day and age we cannot put people in place to make these things happen….or that we would continue to entertain leaders in these areas who have been failing to perform and who demonstrate no vision or ability to succeed in the future.
    This is not brain surgery, there are numerous models out there to be emulated and implemented.

    Perhaps the challenge lie in motivating the man in the street to come to understand the full potential value of these cultural and arts activities, (and the sportspersons In the case of sports). Then the community leaders, club leaders and representatives may be forced to influence the selection of national leadership with national interest in mind – rather than personal gain.

    …is this not the identical problem with our politics? Voters going for politicians who “promise to do something for me” rather that those who demonstrate the vision, capacity, ability and willingness to do what is in the overall national interest?

    This is why the bushman says that our education system has failed. After spending billions of dollars over the past 50 years we have not produced a people who can see beyond the narrow, selfish, petty picture. There is no vision at the personal level, at the community level and therefore none at the national level….and where there is no vision…..


  • @ Rosemary Parkinson | September 13, 2012 at 8:02 AM |
    “.. for Barbados has always been sadly known as an island that rips the creativity outta ya.”

    There is lots of evidence to justify such a strong remark. We believe that everything we need to know or do can be learnt from a school book. Our educational system is focused on producing people not of a creative and free thinking mindset but those who can learn by rote, follow orders and do as told.

    Imagine the Minister of Culture and Sports talking about teaching ‘Entrepreneurship’ in schools.
    What he needs to say and do is to create a teaching and learning environment where the energy and creativity of young people could be expressed and with the application of ICT can be the springboard to entrepreneurial business and cultural pursuits. No wonder in our society people who really design and produce goods and services of a cultural nature (to use the nomenclature, creatives) are seen as the “fringe elements” of the society not worthy of recognition in the mainstream business world of importing and distribution of consumptive goods. One can say Rihanna broke the mould but she had to go overseas to do it. Sir Gary is a one in a billion but still made his name overseas where he is still deeply revered.


  • what culture??????????getting drunk?talking filthy?behaving disgusting?
    whining on women’s asses?
    what culture you talking of.spear throwing?should be one.but you look to USA for your culture.keeping noise all night till the sun come up.
    what culture you speak of that is original to barbados and not stolen from other about whip tricks like outing a cigarette with a whip.
    cane cutting competition could be one !
    stripping cane wif ya teeth could be one.!
    throwing the most garbage on the street and in gullies could be interesting?
    a contest to find the biggest collection of garbage in a gully contest?
    saying rasshole many many times could get us in the Guinness book of records?
    record of days without going in the sea could be another!
    just saying.
    would be at least original.haha


  • oh wait i forget one /which beach boy had the most white women contest.
    oh yea and of course the biggest penis contest.
    these are very important to bajans.and definitely be included in the culture aspect of the island.
    they are many more.


  • oh but forget the white slaves they were only here 20 years or so before any African.but only mostly the decedents of the slave masters are still here to they would have who got the most money from the blood of the white and black slaves contest.and still have it.
    the poor whites could dance a jig and some sword fighting and bombing
    possibly/god i break myself up/it is hilarious.not so?
    hey how about selling slaves contest?
    more original culture for you.
    or working a man to death show would be a good show for the tourist !


  • Rosemary and millertheanunnaki both said it very well. It comes down to understanding that to excell in sports and the arts it takes development and infrastructure just like any other profession. As far as the CIB is concerned it’s going to be difficult to please everyone. They just have to put forward the best bill possible after reviewing the various amendment proposals and let it go through the parliamentary process.


  • Harry you still with this white slave black slave shoite? Man you don’t get tired? You seem to have a problem try and get some mental help man. You getting me real tired with the garbage you are spouting. Chill and take a pill nuh?


  • Anderson Pilgrim…this is not about pleasing everyone. AND IT SHOULD NOT BE about pleasing the chosen few. It is simply about getting it right. Nobody will be so foolish to think that a Bill can be perfect but EVERY CREATIVE + should ensure that it is doing the job it should set out to do and that is simply called EQUAL RIGHTS.


  • @Bush Tea

    Can you imagine if we are able to mobilize sports and culture what are the possibilities?

    The impact on employment.

    The impact on a people who are currently ignored to blossom and actualize there talent?

    A large group of people who will discover the purpose of their existence?


  • I can imagine David. You know why? Because creatives are visionaries.


  • Would like to know

    Hi David,

    Is it true that Owen Arthur was arrested today for issuing a bounced cheque ?


  • @ would like to know

    I am surprised it was not for crucifying Christ.


  • @ David

    “Can you imagine if we are able to mobilize sports and culture what are the possibilities?”
    Endless and fascinating.
    Unlike academics, which is merely a facilitator, sport and culture goes directly to the root of development.

    -Easily exportable, as long as the quality is high,
    -Very high value when well marketed
    -Positive societal impacts on health, wealth, pride, self value,…etc

    Unfortunately, we continue to cast these valuable pearls to be managed by the blind and clueless.
    As Marley says….
    In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty…..


  • @islandgirl In the British West Indies, plantation slavery was instituted as early as 1627. In Barbados by the 1640s there were an estimated 25,000 slaves, of whom 21,700 Were White. [22] It is worth noting that while White Slaves Were Worked to Death in Barbados, there were Caribbean Indians brought from Guiana to help propagate native foodstuffs who were well‑treated and received as free persons by the wealthy planters. “…White Indentured Servants Were Employed and Treated, Incidentally, Exactly like Slaves…” [23]
    [in other words white slaves built the sugar industry.
    understand?]before Africans were even here using Guiana Indians to show
    them the best way to raise the crops of which the English did not know.

    island you no likey that whites built barbados and blacks break it down.
    funk off back to frica.i will speak what i wish.who are you and who died and made you in charge of any thing?
    get ya facts straight.why you don’t go drink some liquid plumber ??????lol
    get rid of one idiot off this island.200,000.00 more to

    yes sport very important, the minister is important,and how do we move forward
    with the success of a tiny 14×22 mile dot on the planet to be the best in the world
    and compete with huge countries with trillions of more people than us.
    yes we can do it if we try.look at Rhianna a world famous bajan who does not write her own songs,or music,sings through a computerized system has the look to sell records ,used by z some body to make money.
    lets take a example from her.
    yes when we in barbados speak the whole world listens we are so important place in the world.
    carry on with your usage of English language ,use as many big words as possible it makes you seem more educated.
    The world awaits you decisions.!
    are you catching up no?


  • @ Amused:

    Heard today the pipsqueak minister using his mouth again too much to compensate for other physical shortages. As usual he is putting his elephantine foot in his bullshit mouth.
    This is what the little man is proposing after a year of allegedly diffusing the outburst from Restoration of the Empire Theatre Building. He clearly knows that Bajans especially the so-called ‘creatives’ are just a lot of hot air with extremely convenient memories once promised a piece of the pie.

    “We are in the process of planning a Cabinet paper that is in an advanced stage of preparation for presentation.
    The paper would seek the Cabinet’s approval for us to go about the task of planning to identify a task force that would help us identify sources of funding to tap into in order for us to plan the process of going about restoring the old buildings of historic value.”

    So this process was never seen as necessary, discussed and agreed before the application for the award of the UNESCO Bridgetown World Heritage site was submitted to the powers that be?
    If this process was followed why reinvent the wheel?
    If we continue down this path of smoke and mirrors it should not surprise us if the World heritage award is withdrawn in the very near future.
    What is the role of lotteries and other legal gambling activities in Bim? Why not legalise casino gambling to help finance the $50 million Culture Fund repetitiously mentioned by that DLP media mascot in order to bet on the vote of those easily fooled creatives aka cultural practitioners.

    @ Rosemary Parkinson: Please don’t fall for empty promises. When we see the UWI arrears paid off, then we could look forward to some creative juices flowing into the cultural purse attached to that long awaited CIB. Which comes first with this government? Free Tertiary Education or cultural industries?


  • A lawyer as a Minister, and another one at the head of the table at the NCF …. See the problem?


  • Heard the minister talking about a fund the artistes can access soon. What are the details? Why is every thing so hidden? Come on!!!!


  • In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.


  • Harry when such wealth is obtained from the rampant exploiting of locals and locals alone, hell yes it is a source of shame …


  • old onion bags | September 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM |

    Mottley and LIME football $100,000 kick off….will Lashley engage (as last year).. wid.David Thompson Football Tournament ? Power play indeed.
    did not mia mottley start her footie tournamnet after Owen and George payne kicked her to the curb.
    She was desperate to stay relevant then lest we forget.


  • Trevor Browne seems to be serious about his challenge. It is a good start but only a start 1 mil is chicken feed.

    $1m start

    An initial investment of BDS$1 million will be made by a newly formed company, Sport Knowledge Barbados Inc., to get the Barbados Olympic Association’s (BOA) proposed athlete funding programme off the ground later this year.

    The Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Programme seeks to identify and groom athletes within a national sporting structure from early age to elite status and funding will be sourced from several organizations which already fund sport.

    BOA director Lt Col Trevor Browne, who conceptualized the programme and presented it to the major stakeholders, said it would mimic what had been done for education.

    “At a young age, we give everyone a chance to come into the programme at a basic level and identify where people are talented – those who can jump, run, those with hand-eye co-ordination or whatever – and channel them where their talent can be maximized,” Browne said.

    Athletes will be guided by the various national federations in their particular sport through the different stages of competition from local to Caribbean, Central American and Caribbean, Pan American, World and ultimately, the Olympic Games.

    Browne said the five major stakeholders – the BOA, National Sports Council, the group of national federations, UWI Cave Hill and the Olympians Association – were all on board under the company.

    Presentations were also made to Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley and senior officials in the Ministry of Education, while other key stakeholders included the Barbados Community College and the Government-run Arts and Sport Promotion Fund.

    Approximately 300 athletes will be nominated by their national federations to join the LTAD programme with 20 to 30 enjoying elite status.

    Browne, president of the Barbados Table Tennis Association, said there would be continuous assessment and a formal report on each individual would be submitted every six months.

    “We have had a very good reception from all of the presentations that we had,” Browne said. “All of the stakeholders have actually bought into the programme. They like it. They agree it is a workable programme.”

    However, he acknowledged that the way sport was perceived in Barbados may be the biggest obstacle they would face.

    Responding to the perception that sport was “playing games” or a distraction from academics, for some people, while others saw it as a healthy mind in a healthy body which complemented academics, Browne said: “If you look at the hype coming out of Olympics and what has happened to Jamaica, what is increasingly becoming obvious to the average Barbadian is that sport does present outstanding opportunities for success, in many cases better than academics.”

    “We have also reached the stage where we have invested a lot of money in academics. We have people with a lot of degrees coming out, and the truth is, they are not always able to use the knowledge they have built up. We may well be reaching the limit in terms of academics, and sport presents a whole new area that is available to Barbados as a means of developing our people.

    “The glory and national pride that comes from success in international sport is unbelievable. We need to promote that and market it. The leaders in sport need to change that mindset,” Browne added.


  • DT football Competition is going to Kick off affa all..Prize money $30,000


  • Actually the price money is 100,000 plus.


  • Clarrify… mean over all……LIME MOTTLEY tournament 1st Prize money is $100,000..are you saying DTFT is not $30,000 ?


  • $30,000 is the prize money for top 4 places but isn’t other monies needed to support team members?

    In fact the total monies for the competition increased over last year because more players registered.


  • An update on this matter.

    Revealed: taxpayer-funded aid consultants on six figures a year
    The Department for International Development is directly handing individual “aid consultants” up to £223,000 a year each, according to a list seen by The Sunday Telegraph.
    Senior Tory accuses EU of “squandering” Britain’s aid budget
    A senior Government minister has accused the European Union of squandering Britain’s international aid budget on schemes that often have nothing to do with alleviating world poverty.
    How aid money is being spent in Barbados
    British aid is being spent on a number of projects in Barbados including to train waiters to serve wealthy hotel guests.


Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s