Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Assistant Secretary General Dr. Armstrong Alexis says CARICOM countries lack the structures, policies and resources to effectively cushion the impact of any major disaster through emergency relief grants or unemployment benefits.
“Government and private sector investment and incentives for the sector are also insufficient over a long period of time,” said Alexis, adding that this problem needs to be addressed urgently if the region is to build a more resilient creative sector.
Alexis was addressing the virtual launch of the Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development project which will enable the significant development of the region’s cultural and creative industries.
The three-year, multi-million dollar project supported by a grant from the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union (OACP-EU) will be implemented by the United Nations to Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), University of the West Indies (UWI) and the CARICOM Secretariat.
The project receives financial and technical support from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) under a facility for a viable cultural industry: supporting cultural and creative industries in OACP countries.
Explaining the concept of ‘Play’ enshrined in the name Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development, Alexis said that ‘Play’ is deeply rooted in the cultural expressions of the Caribbean.
He said this is manifested through carnivals and festivals as well as the region’s dynamic musical inventions like reggae, dancehall, calypso, soca, punta, bouyon, compa, calsa and segment. dennery.
“’Play’ is also enshrined in the steel pan – the only acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century. The “game” is ubiquitous in the literary work of the region’s many internationally renowned writers – including two Nobel Prize winners in literature – and through our publishers, who have enriched the global literary canon.
“The ‘play’, ladies and gentlemen, is part of the richness of our performing arts in dance, theater and storytelling, to name a few. Through this pervasive ecosystem of ‘play’, the Caribbean continues to be culturally expressive, prolific and provocative, while seeking to overcome its vulnerabilities and challenges,” the Deputy Secretary-General said at the virtual launch Thursday.
He said he remains optimistic that Creative Caribbean will foster a strong cultural ecosystem that will withstand shocks such as those experienced during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Referring to the findings of the Regional Dialogue on Culture which examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural and creative industries, Alexis said he concluded that many CARICOM countries lack the structures, policies and resources to effectively cushion the impact of any major disaster through emergency relief grants or unemployment benefits.
Alexis said that national festivals and the Festival of Caribbean Arts (CARIFESTA) stand to benefit from the capacity building activities that will be implemented under the project.
He said this was important because festivals generate direct revenue streams through sponsorship, ticket sales and merchandise. Secondary revenue also comes from expenses related to airfare, hotel accommodation, car rental, and hair, makeup, and fashion services for clients; catering, media and promotion, technical support for sound, stage, light and festival management; and street vendors.
“For CARIFESTA to continue to thrive and remain relevant to people in the region, youth participation in the Festival needs to be strengthened and mainstreamed. Greater attention to the specific needs and interests of young people, to encourage them to attend and participate in CARIFESTA, is vital,” said Alexis, emphasizing the need for youth participation in CARIFESTA.
“The exceptional performances and expressions of young artists, their creative energy and their commitment to the ideals of the Festival, form the foundation on which CARIFESTA is built. By setting up more programs to nurture the creative talents of our young people at national and regional levels and propel their success on the global stage, CARIFESTA is poised to have an even stronger impact on the region,” he said. -he declares.