Keep controversy out of Crop Over, warns Culture Minister
(File photo) Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Stephen Lashley
The Sweetest Summer Festival has been problem free for the ‘last six or so years’ and it will remain that way. This was the assurance given by Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture Stephen Lashley as he delivered remarks Crop Over Thanksgiving Church Service at the Vauxhall Methodist Church on Sunday.
Just last week the Barbados Association of Masqueraders (BAM) put out a stern warning to the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to make good on promises to raise subvention to bandleaders or an increase in prize money or face protest action on Grand Kadooment.
Minister Lashley said he is well aware of the issues affecting BAM and intends to initiate dialogue with the association in order to prevent any possible disruption to the Festival.
“I always say that when we have issues we sit down and we work them out. I am aware of the issues raised by the masqueraders and we will certainly work with them in terms of solving any outstanding matter that they have. I give you the assurance that all issues raised will get the hearing, not only of the NCF, but certainly of this Minister.”
He did, however, elaborate on how soon these discussions will commence.
He said the Crop Festival is of tremendous economic benefit to the country bringing in excess of 50 million US dollars each year. He added the goal was to ensure that all interested stakeholders benefit from the efforts they put into the festival.
Lashley also made a special appeal for Barbadians to continue their ‘excellent’ conduct during the Festival.
“We have in the midst of that seen pockets of behavior that does not lend itself to the overall flavour and the esteemed way in which we want to grow Crop Over and therefore we continue to impress on everyone who takes part in Crop Over that we do so and we enjoy ourselves but we do so with the kind of moderation and self respect that makes us stand out in the international community.”
The 2017 Crop Over Festival will be held under the theme of ‘Catch the Feeling’ and will run from May 14 to August 7.