‘If you are serious, captain your ministry’ says Frederick
January 20, 2012
‘If you are serious, captain your ministry’ says Frederick

Opposition Senator and Shadow Minister of Culture, Vynnette Frederick has accused the Ministry of Culture of not properly executing their duties with regard to developing the country’s cultural and creative sectors.{{more}}

In her recent contribution to the debate on the 2012 Budget, the Shadow Minister revisited the Budget address of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ralph Gonsalves, which spoke about job creation, economic growth, financial stabilization, fiscal balancing and social equity at a time of continued global economic uncertainty.

However, according to Frederick, “…this government has mismanaged that, way before global uncertainty became the life raft to which they decided to cling.”

Frederick stated that for several years, Vincentians have witnessed this mismanagement, punctuated by boasts of countercyclical measures by the ruling Unity labour Party administration, which has now left the country “in deficit upon deficit upon deficit”.

These actions, according the Senator, “have brought us to the realization today by the government that we are in hard times …” she added.

Frederick further noted that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture to ensure that more initiatives are implemented in order for Vincentians involved in the industry to benefit.

… “I can only say that if the captain of the boat, which is the Minister of Culture, is serious then you will need to recognize that he is the captain and that he is expected to captain this ministry…”

According to Frederick, the Ministry of Culture has been relegated to an afterthought in the minds of the government.

“…And why this is a bad thing is because job creation is possible if the creative and cultural industry is developed so that the cultural practitioners can earn by his own capacity.

“He does not need a job provided for him; he has skills to actually earn as of his own rights,” she said.

Frederick, a lawyer by profession, said that if we are serious about job creation, we need to spend time on creating an environment where the creative and cultural industry can emerge to be a sector that can contribute to this economy.

“But this isn’t happening. Why isn’t it happening?” she asked.

She explained that page 181 of the Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure, culture isn’t reflected in the mission of the Ministry.

Frederick noted that on the last occasion that the former Minister of Culture was present in parliament, the mission statement of then Ministry of Culture, Labour and Electoral Matters included culture.

“So here we have a ministry that had a mission in which culture was an integral part and I am convinced that the current Honorable Minister is not able harness whatever progress was made previously in this ministry and move forward to offer job creation through the creation of a cultural and creative industry.

Meanwhile, in his address at the Junior Calypso symposium on Wednesday, this week, Minister of Culture, Frederick Stephenson revealed that there are a number of initiatives that are being undertaken by the government to further develop the cultural and creative industry.

“This year tremendous work will be done with regard to the creative culture here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

According to Stephenson, a broad based committee will be put in place which would include Invest SVG, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture and other stakeholders.

The Minister disclosed that this new initiative is being undertaken as part of the government’s strategy to take the creative culture industry to the next level.