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Region launches 3-year project to develop cultural and creative industries

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(CMC) Deputy Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Dr Armstrong Alexis says the creative industries in the region have suffered due to “insufficient government and private sector investments in, and incentives for the sector.”

Alexis, who was addressing the virtual launch of the Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development project, said the latter needs to be addressed urgently if the region is to build a more resilient creative sector.

‘Play’ is a three-year multi-million dollar investment aimed at significantly developing the region’s cultural and creative industries. The Organisation of African Caribbean Pacific States-European Union (OACP-EU) grant supported project will be implemented by the United Nations Education Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caricom Secretariat.

The project is receiving financial and technical support from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) under a facility proposed towards a Viable Cultural Industry: Supporting the Cultural and Creative Industries in OACP Countries.

Explaining the concept of ‘Play’ inscribed in the name Creative Caribbean: An Ecosystem of ‘Play’ for Growth and Development, Alexis said ‘Play’ is deeply rooted in the cultural expressions of the Caribbean.

He said it is manifested through carnivals and festivals as well as the dynamic musical inventions of the region like reggae, dancehall, calypso, soca, punta, bouyon, compa, calsa, and dennery segment.

“’Play’ is also inscribed in the steel pan – the only acoustic musical instrument to be invented in the twentieth century. ‘Play’ is pervasive in the literary work of the many internationally celebrated writers of the region – including two Nobel Laureates for Literature – and through our publishers, who have enriched the global literary canon.

“‘Play’ ladies and gentlemen, is in the richness of our performing arts in dance, theatre and storytelling, to name a few. Through this pervasive ecosystem of ‘play’, the Caribbean continues to be culturally expressive, prolific and defiant, while seeking to overcome its vulnerabilities and challenges” the Deputy Secretary-General told the virtual launch on Thursday.

He said he remained optimistic that Creative Caribbean will foster a strong cultural eco-system that withstands shocks such as those experienced during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Alexis said that national festivals and the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) stand to benefit from capacity-building activities to be implemented through the project.

He said this is important as festivals generate direct income streams from sponsorship, ticket and merchandise sales. Secondary revenue is also derived through expenditure on airline tickets, hotel accommodation, car rentals as well as hair and make-up and fashion services for the patrons; catering, media and promotion, technical support for sound, stage, lights and festival management; and street vendors.

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