Minister Bowleg Highlights Cultural Initiatives

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Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Mario Bowleg speaks concerning cultural initiatives in his Ministry, during his Contribution in the House of Assembly, on November 3, 2021. (BIS Photo / Eric Rose)

From: Bahamas Information Services

During his Contribution on the Speech from the Throne, in the House of Assembly, on November 3, 2021, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Mario Bowleg said that, in keeping with the Government’s mandate to create a new economic model for culture and the creative industry, the Department of Culture was embarking on several sectorial actions that will provide the resources and strengthen the cultural industry.

“Cultural and creative sectors are important for ensuring the continued development of societies and are at the heart of the creative economy,” Minister Bowleg said. “Knowledge-intensive and based on individual creativity and talent, they generate considerable economic wealth.

“More importantly, they are critical to a shared sense of Bahamian identity, culture and values.” Minister Bowleg noted that those sectorial actions would focus on capacity building, professionalization and talent development, data collection to understand better the sectors, as well as export opportunities including the following: outreach with community and rehabilitative programmes in the arts such as music, dance, culinary arts, fashion, story-telling, film, literary writing and much more; increasing resources that provide opportunity and access to the cultural sector both locally and internationally through the form of cultural grants, subventions and the digitization of the cultural artist registry; the creation of a shared work space/environment for creative and cultural artists and the refurbishment and proper resource of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, It would also include the forming and re-forging partnerships with the private sector and community organizations, to provide cultural opportunities to the people of communities in New Providence and the Family Islands; the reestablishment of a Cultural Commission to assist with the National Cultural Policy and cultural research; and the creation of the National Creative Arts School, that would provide arts education and certification to those seeking to be professional artists and be a part of the creative industries.

“We will be revamping existing programmes, such as the National Junkanoo Development Programme and the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival to be more expansive and effective in delivery,” Minister Bowleg added.

He pointed out that the revitalization of the entertainment industry is of utmost importance – by providing professional entertainers with equitable opportunities through performance events, arts management education workshops and seminars, cultural exchange, collaboration with clubs, hotels, resorts and other businesses, and the establishment of an appropriate industry standard remuneration scale.

He added that the Ministry would also be bringing awareness and exposure to past and existing cultural icons and provide general cultural education so that all remember who they are as a people and realize the richness of Bahamian culture.

Minister Bowleg said that the Department of Culture would also seek to increase the scheduled frequency of world-class events held every quarter and attract and host major international events and festivals, such as CARIFESTA. The Department will also encourage productions to showcase Bahamian creative for locals, tourists and global consumption, he added.

“We will market culture to drive exports in the performing arts, Junkanoo, fashion, costumes, crafts and the visual arts – and market Bahamian culture as the main tourism product with cultural ambassadors to promote The Bahamas around the world,” Minister Bowleg said.

“Culture is crucial to the development of our country, essential in addressing global challenges, and is a vehicle for economic development, social cohesion and stability and resilient communities,” he added. “It is critical to preserve our culture, history and heritage and also realize that our culture defines who we are.”