“It is time to move beyond the lip service and put the proper structure, facilities and mechanisms in place to take advantage of the rich multiculturalism and arts for the benefit of both our human and political development, nationally, regionally and internationally,” said Media, Cultural and Literary Consultant, Dr Kris Rampersad.
“It is now well-recognised that our arts and culture are among our most untapped renewable resource. It has untapped value not only to us here in the region but internationally. It is time that the country where was invented the only musical instrument in recent times; which has an as yet incomparable record of social cohesion despite its multicultural diversity, takes its place as a leader on the world cultural stage,” she said.
“We also need to change our perception of the sector,” she added.
Rampersad noted that change can only come from meaningful diversification and more equitable treatment of groups, and an enabling environment and infrastructure for investment in the arts and culture, similar to that which has been given to petroleum over the decades, to make it possible that the enormous cadre of talent available locally can face the competitive global marketplace.
“If we are serious about weaning ourselves away from dependency on petroleum, and dependency as a whole we must do away with the ad hoc treatment of arts and culture where groups and individuals, and individual cultural sectors are subject to whatever partisan interests the powers of the day may hold, and establish a cultural policy along with programmes and actions that will standardise State treatment of the arts and culture sector that will hold for all,” she noted.
“We tend to underestimate the potential of the arts and culture, and often speak of it either in terms of economic or human development – but we are in a position to take full advantage of both elements – to use our cultural resilience and get rid of the ‘gimme gimme’ syndrome to forge the kind of social transformation that will secure for our sustainable development for generations to come,” she said.