• {EDITOR’S NOTE – Ain’t that strange? Just after we post Part 1 of Itemised Concerns, suddenly the Government Information Service hustles this article out?}

Barbados’ Cabinet will soon be considering changes to the proposed Cultural Industries Development Bill following new recommendations from stakeholders.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who said the suggested enhancements to the Bill had emerged from the recently convened public consultation, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, as well as other written submissions made directly to the Ministry.

Mr. Lashley explained that following Cabinet approval, “the next step would be to submit the changes to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to have the redrafting of the necessary provisions done so we can have it approved and taken to Parliament.”

He is hopeful that the process would be completed this year so the legislation could be on the island’s statute books.

Describing the Cultural Industries Development Bill as “extremely important and critical”, he said it was necessary for all relevant sectors to move purposefully based on legislation that was relevant and practical, given the dynamics of the emerging creative sector in Barbados. “And, that is why we spent the time caucusing with the various stakeholders so we could understand their issues and come up with a Bill that makes sense, based on where the cultural industries are in Barbados and where we want them to go,” he stated.

Min. of Family, Culture, Sports & Youth - Stephen Lashley

He said his Ministry was encouraged by the many recommendations received from the public and promised that the useful suggestions would be incorporated into a redrafted Bill.

Turning his attention to the Preservation of Antiquities and Relics Bill, the Minister noted that several valuable contributions were made at a recent public consultation held at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed and his Ministry was now examining those suggestions. “I am also aware that the Barbados National Trust has set up a team to review the Bill and make recommendations to the Ministry.

I am awaiting those recommendations before we finalise the proposed changes which will take the same route as the Cultural Industries Development Bill, that is, to Cabinet, on to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and then Parliament,” Mr. Lashley indicated.

The Preservation of Antiquities and Relics Bill was taken to Parliament late last year, but Government suspended its debate in the Senate to allow for further consultations following public concerns about some of its provisions.

Giving the rationale for the Bill, Mr. Lashley said it was intended to ensure Barbados’ historic patrimony, relics, and buildings, among other things, were preserved for future generations. “We were also concerned in relation to archeological digs. The Bill seeks to set up a regime by which that process is appropriately licensed to ensure that persons involved in such digs follow certain requirements.

“The concerns have been in relation to the definition of relics, as well as the provisions relating to search and compulsory acquisition. Given the feedback from stakeholders, you may very well see a Bill emerging that is more focussed on voluntary registration of relics because we don’t want to have an arrangement where persons believe they are under pressure regarding items that belong to them. We want persons to see this as a partnership where we want to encourage them to register their items so we can help to protect them,” he declared.

The Minister said the wording of some provisions of the Bill might give the impression that Government could move in and seize certain things. However, he maintained that was never the Bill’s intention and informed that his Ministry was seeking to correct any misinterpretation.

Mr. Lashley stressed, however, that those persons who still wished to make contributions to both Bills should immediately contact the Division of Culture and Sports in the Warrens Office Complex.

Meanwhile, the Ministry will soon continue its dialogue with Government ministries and agencies which are key to cultural industries development and discussions with the private sector will follow. (Courtesy: BGIS/SA)

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