Government’s allocation to develop the creative sector is being called a gross insult.
According to the Draft Estimates of Expenditure for 2018, the creative sector will be allocated a total of eight million dollars.
That money will be split into three categories: Music, $1 million, Film $2.5 million and Fashion $4.5 million.
“We are talking diversifying the economy, the creative sector is one of the sectors earmarked and when it comes down to the crunch, what is the point of setting up something and grossly underfunding it?” asked Wendell Manwarren, one-third of the group 3 Canal who has also been heavily involved in music, film and theatre production.
Simon Baptiste, head of Question Mark Entertainment, the company that manages Kes the Band and stages the annual Decibel Festival, said the money allocated is very low.
“With any business paradigm you have to look at what you have to work with and the sums discussed are still very low particularly if you talking about an attempt to inject some capital investment. The money discussed is what we might use on one project, so far less you talking about trying to use the same amount of money and spread it among this huge creative sector.
“It is a hell of a challenge but the amount they talking about is so incredibly small if you are looking at the development of the sector. How do they plan to take this sum and make it work? It requires having a really dynamic team, people with vision and who recognise how to get it done but to get the best of the best but you have to pay them and by the time you do, that is your budget right there,” he said.
In his budget presentation, Imbert announced an Artiste Portfolio Development Programme, an Export Ready Academy to assist local artistes with producing, marketing and exporting their music and the establishment of a Live Music District for live music and other musical activities year round.
He said the Government is establishing a strategic plan for the Film Industry as a guide to enabling it to make informed decisions on the development of this sub-sector.
“Local production crews will be given the opportunity to improve their film production talent and ensure more high-quality productions. In support of this process there will be training and certification programmes which will be on par with international standards,” he said.
A Production Assistance and Script Development Programme will also be launched to provide funding to filmmakers to produce high-quality films and a Garment Production Facility and Tailoring Certification Programme will also be introduced.
Promoter Randy Glasgow congratulated the Government on the initiatives.
“This is the best news for young talent in many years and we want to congratulate the minister for that. It is a start, you have to design a plan. The live music district is fantastic. Our young people need help and this will give them some encouragement. All countries have young talent coming out in the mainstream because of platforms like this. It is important who guides the programme. The Population wouldn’t mind money spending if there is something to show if there is transparency,” he said.