Debate on the Cultural Industries Development Bill 2013 BEGINS

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley took about 3 hours to introduce the Cultural Industries Development Bill 2013 to parliament today (15/10/2013). BU is happy the government recognizes the opportunity which the cultural industries sector offers. What we are not happy about is that key concerns which were highlighted by the Concerned Creative Citizens Group (CCCG) have not been included in the bill introduced. At the top of the list is the Idi Amin authority which any Minister of culture will have under the proposed bill.  What was downright egregious was the minister’s unwillingness to acknowledge the significant work done by the CCCG providing feedback on the draft bill in his three hour introduction.

Hope springs eternal and we are hopeful that it is not too late to incorporate constructive suggestions. BU takes this opportunity to congratulate Andrea King who has been appointed to the position of Film Commissioner.

See related links:

Continue reading

Stop the Filth, Protect the Vagina

Daggering Jamaican style

Daggering Jamaican style

There is a very disturbing trend which is gathering momentum in Barbados. If BU were to follow our sense of where it has its origin, all indicators point to Jamaica.

There must be a good reason why the Creator designed a woman’s vagina to be secreted away behind the protective lips of the vulva with additional protection between the legs. It seems the height of ignorance that any ‘woman’ would want to bend over (6:30 or not), to expose her vagina to violent humping – usually administered by a but not always the case.

BU agrees with those who believe that the wholesale adoption by Barbadian youth mostly of this silly and irrelevant sub culture, reflects poorly on our ability to effectively educate our young people. Why would any man want to bang that part of the woman’s ‘sweet spot’? In the name of freedom of expression it seems we are clueless as a society about how to arrest the rising popularity of this base behaviour. BU believes when the Democratic Labour Party government essays that it wants to build a society, curbing the unholy practice of bumping an unprotected vagina MUST be treated as abuse of a high priority. We must protect the ignorant from themselves.

Continue reading

Queen On the Horizon

Submitted by Old Onions Bag

…a child shall lead them…



Have you all been listening attentively to some of these calypsos coming out for Crop Over this year? If you have, then I am sure that you would agree with me. There is a most effervescent  and  future repository rising star on the horizon; a now so called ‘guardian of  calypso’ by her own making, that has easily out shone most of her seasoned contemporaries. A sizzling first timer to the adults competition, having just  achieved her elevated status from Junior Monarch. A fresh and most destined spirited lassie by the name of Aziza  that will be kicking butt this year.

I say this with no reservation having listened to both the Junior Monarch Finals and the Pic of the Crop semi finals that  given the calibre of rendition and diction exhibited by some of the juniors, they have definitely out shone their masters. The Junior Monarch show was a better place to be on the night and that is no idle boast. Why I can recall only a few seasoned  boast like Crystal Cummings-Beckles, Blood, TC Serenader, (Symphony in C minor) AC and Ian Webster that stand a chance of really pulling a rabbit out the hat on the night of the finals, now that this young lady is seemingly exploding on the airwaves and  more importantly the stage.

Continue reading

Cultural Norms and Development

Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
There is a need to align cultural norms with development.

There is a need to align cultural norms with development.

It is now obvious that there is a cultural hurdle to overcome if the Caribbean is to move forward. So often we have restricted our discussion of culture to the entertainment or superficial level that we fail to recognize and understand that the economy itself is cultural in nature. In other words the cultural norms of a society have a direct effect on all the factors that contribute to the economy.

One of our greatest cultural problems is our approach to time. Buses run late, we get to work late and then we realise that thousands of man hours are lost because of this simple fact. Without a proper public transport system, it is virtually impossible to improve productivity. Hence, those who live in societies where things “run” on time, immediately realise the importance of organising their business in order to catch the train or bus that they need to get to a particular point. The result is that time is not lost and productivity is less threatened.

We all recall when we used to get days off to attend test cricket! Nothing wrong with supporting our cricketers, but in those days during five day tests, the entire Caribbean came to a standstill. It was just the way we did things. Little did we realize the negative results of being five days behind our business while we enjoyed our cricket? We also enjoyed shopping days for Christmas. Imagine getting time off at the peak period of commercial activity.

Continue reading

Barbados Landship to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

Barbados Landship

Barbados Landship

We are inviting your establishment to attend a press launch on Tuesday 23rd July 2013 at the Dock, Licorish Village, My Lord’s Hill, St. Michael at 10:00a.m. which will include a statement from the Landship about its present and future in the development of Barbados. Coordinators of the events for the 150th Anniversary will announce these and answer any queries and Members of the 150th Anniversary Committee will be in attendance.

Read full statement

Premier Event Services to Organize 2013 Cohobblopot: There Is Still Meat On the Fatted Calf!

The minister [Stephen Lashley] said for the much talked about Cohobblopot, there were two tenders for the hosting of the event, which was won by Rihanna’s Loud Concert and Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival organisers Premier Event ServicesBarbados Today

The news that the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has awarded the right to organize Cohobblopot, one of the premier Crop Over events,  to Premier Event Services with just over one month to go  is interesting. Has anyone bothered to ask who are the directors of this company? What is their history of staging cultural shows? Is there enough time for this company to execute one of the biggest shows in Barbados? How much money is tagged to this arrangement? It is all about demonstrating transparency which is (was?) promoted by this government when it assumed office in 2008.

Continue reading

A Game Changer: The Cultural Industries Bill

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture and Sports

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture and Sports

It was interesting to note Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson’s perspective in the news last week about the importance of forging the creative/cultural industries and sport. She asserted that “these sectors have the potential to be important drivers of economic development.” Bear in mind Jamaica is light years ahead of all the countries in the Caribbean as far as leveraging theses two sectors. It is also noteworthy that Prime Minister Portia Simpson has responsibility for sports supported by a Junior Minister.

To Barbados’ credit we were informed in the lead up to the 2013 General Election that the Cabinet of Barbados approved the Cultural Industries Bill (CIB).  It has been reported that the CIB will be one of the early bills to be read in parliament. It took five years to complete the consultative and drafting process and many of the stakeholders in the Arts sector now eagerly look forward to its implementation. However, others have reviewed the final draft and remain doubtful that it has the ‘meet’ to nurture and grow our nascent cultural industries.

One needs to go no further than page 8 of the CIB, “approved producer of audio-visual content means a film production company incorporated under the Companies Act…that is controlled by a resident of Barbados”. Does anyone believe any reputable film company is going to make films in Barbados with this precondition? What about non-Bajans who are resident in Barbados?

Continue reading

Concerned Creative Citizens Group Waiting …

It is no secret that BU is very interested in Sports and Culture as a means to express their most unique talents and the economic benefit likely to accrue to individuals and country. The Sports and Cultural communities have been kicked about like the proverbial football for years by successive governments. It is time for it to stop.

The following was extracted from the Concerned Creative Citizens Group Facebook page. The images have been provided compliments of the indefatigable Rosemary Parkinson.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading

A Response To Concerned Creative Citizens Of Barbados

BU received the following from a member of the BU family as a response to the submission from  A Concerned Creative Citizens Group Not Happy About The Proposed Cultural Industries Bill.

Alison Sealy-Smith, Senior Business, NCF  in contention for CEO position

It is all very well to talk blithely about an “association” of artists and how it is to be non-governmental. But to leave it like that on the part of this group of concerned creatives is, frankly, completely inadequate.

Yes, I agree that if there is to be a serious arts and culture industry, there has to be an association, a non-government association acting as a union, of artists. That is an essential first step. If you take on board that all arts and culture starts (and ends) with the artists and creatives, then you must know that, without them, there is no “product” for the “entrepreneurs” to market and make a fortune on, while handing back a bare pittance to the artists and creatives. And the “entrepreneurs” have carefully brainwashed creatives into thinking that they are doing the creatives a favour, so that creatives are completely happy to peddle into Bridgetown on their bikes and tug their forelocks as the “entrepreneurs” pass in their new BMWs. A century ago, this was the case in the USA – and 90 years ago, it ceased to be the case. So, let us look at the history of trades union and guilds in the arts in other countries and see if there is a parallel to be found to Barbados.

Continue reading

A Concerned Creative Citizens Group Not Happy About The Proposed Cultural Industries Bill

Submitted by the Concerned Citizens Group

Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture

We are a group of creative Barbadians called the Concerned Creative Citizens Group. This group, made up of key members from various disciplines of our cultural community, was formed out of immense concern over the contents of the Cultural Industries Bill, which was being circulated by the Ministry of Culture a few months ago, with the intention of having it passed as a legal document. Our members are well versed in all aspects of culture and we went over the proposed Bill with a fine toothed comb, our efforts culminating with our recommendations being formally presented to the Ministry and addressed to Minister Stephen Lashley on April 30th 2012, via a hand delivered letter which outlined both the good points contained in the Bill as well as the serious flaws it possessed which we felt needed to be addressed.

Personal correspondence was then communicated between Minister Lashley and the group on several occasions, with one such letter assuring us that all submissions were being considered regarding proposed amendments to the Bill. A meeting was set up to discuss these proposed amendments between consultant representative of the Ministry of Culture Ms Andrea King and members of our group, which was also attended by UNESCO consultant Andrew Senior, who was purportedly hired by the Ministry of Culture to help with the Culture Industries Bill. At this meeting we were informed categorically by Mr. Senior that he was not involved in amendments to the Bill but was hired to advise government on ‘entrepreneurship’ in the culture industry of the island. We were, however, made more aware of the real purpose of the Bill, which we found appeared to have a high level of the principles of entrepreneurship at its core, and in our view was more focused on turning the cultural industries into a revenue earner for Government, and very much less on the inherent gains which should be derived from the Bill to the benefit of all creative practitioners in our country.

Continue reading

All This Talk About Culture and What?

The Telegraph article highlighted the EU Office in Barbados

… £1.8million has been handed to the Caribbean island of Barbados to build a hotel and leisure complex where 200 youngsters will be trained each year in hospitality management. The revelations will intensify the row over the UK’s bloated aid budget, which will soon take up 0.7 per cent of our GDP at a time when vital public services are being pared to the bone…

In terms of GDP per capita, Barbados is wealthier than Portugal, Croatia and Hungary.  But the EU has spent millions of pounds on the Hotel PomMarine complex, plus a forensic science laboratory, a language centre and support for the nation’s financial sector.

Mail Online (Daniel Martin)

The excerpt formed the  lead stories in two of the United Kingdom’s leading dailies this week, the Mail Online and The Telegraph. One would never guess though if a half interested Barbadian scanned the local media.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Stephen Lashley Plan To Build Out a Cultural Industry

Andrew Senior

Barbados will host this year’s XV Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2012) from October 1 to 3, marking the first time ever that the event will be held in an English-speaking Caribbean country. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which this year will focus on innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship.


The news that Barbados will host this major event is good news. Up to now entrepreneurship has been a buzz word with little evidence that it has taken root in Barbados. We wish the organizers success and hope the stated objectives are achieved. Given the shift in the global economy post 2008 it must be evident that a vibrant culture of entrepreneurship will have to increase the contribution it is making to the local economy.

It is not widely known that the government of Barbados has contracted a consultant by the name of Andrew Senior to advise on the building out of the mooted ‘Cultural Industry’. Reasonable people appreciate the complexity of growing a culture industry, and the decision by Minister Stephen Lashley and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to request technical assistance from UNESCO and the EU  by contracting  Senior seems reasonable; on the surface.

Continue reading

We Have To Protect Our Children

The sights and sound…yes the pic is meant to arouse sensibilities on a Sunday morning

Barbados, like all of the other States in the Caribbean region has committed itself to protecting the rights of children through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (C.R.C.). Integral to this collection of rights are those geared at the protection of children who are abused, neglected or at risk of harm.


The story which continues to incense sensible Barbadians of a child being abused by two adults on Kadooment Day is rapidly reaching the end of the seven day period for top billing. Director of the Child Care Board (CCB) Joan Crawford, goaded by the public outcry, is quoted in the media that the widely circulated picture will be forwarded to the Police for investigation. Implied in the action by the CCB is that there is enough evidence to support a case of child abuse.

It was interesting to listen to Joan Crawford explaining that the picture does not expose the faces of the adults in the picture therefore it will be difficult to locate the individuals. Her apologetic observation begs the question, is Miss Crawford a member of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF)? She is obligated to report the matter and let the RBPF used its sleuthing skills to locate the individuals.

Continue reading

The Neglected Space At Rock Hall

Submitted by Rosemary Parkinson

Standford C. Haynes creator of the Rock Hall statue

Saturday 11th August I happened to swerve into a gap off a main road in St. Thomas, just by chance…’twas a dead end…but…what I saw shocked the life outta me. A most amazing piece of work stood tall into the skies literally in the middle of nowhere. As I drew near I realized it was a statue of a man, woman and child with arms outstretched as if touching the heavens. I was totally taken aback. What was this gorgeous piece of work all about? On approaching…the first thing I noticed was the dilapidated state of this monument, its surroundings and its plaques…there were several. I managed to read one of them. Rock Hall was the area, Cynthia Forde (previous government) unveiled same, one Standford C. Haynes was the creator, it was bronzed in the UK. The plaque did not say whether Mr. Haynes was a Barbadian but with this name, I assumed he would be. And even if not, who cares. The images are simply stunning.

But here comes the sadness. They are in desperate need of a cleaning…I ent seh scrubbing dong…just a little cleaning. There are no benches or seating arrangements of any kind to be had for those who might like to relax and admire this work of art. I looked around and although there was a lovely green pasture, there was no sign that said I could picnic there if I wanted. Actually it looked like private property with some cows grazing and a lovely backyard garden…but for sure such a simple thing as a few little picnic tables would have been nice.

As I looked around, I came across two more plaques under some overhanging bush. One gave names of free slaves and the other (both sadly needing some repair) said the following:

Continue reading