Crop Over’s ability to generate over $80 million in economic activity demonstrates that the festival must be expanded and not restricted.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this assertion at the Crop Over 2014: Sponsors Mix and Mingle Launch at the Presidential Suite, Kensington Oval, on Wednesday, January 15.
Stressing that Crop Over must be seen as a key pillar on which the island could propel further growth in the economy, Minister Lashley said the responsibility of funding the festival should not reside with Government alone.
“To a large extent, a successful Crop Over means successful business for companies in Barbados, and we know that they know that, because they certainly reap the benefits by and large,” he pointed out.
“Most of the money does not necessarily come into the coffers of Government, but it goes into the private sector, and into homes and families of ordinary Barbadians who come out to make a living during the festival,” he remarked.
The Culture Minister told sponsors and potential sponsors that Government “very much appreciated” their support and encouraged Barbadian businesses to contribute the festival.
Emphasising that the partnership between Government and corporate Barbados needed to be strengthened, he noted it was Government’s aim to stimulate the greatest possible amount of economic activity during the festival season.
Urging the business community “to join us in realising this goal”, Minister Lashley opined: “The extent to which your businesses thrive and prosper is dependent on the extent to which our society remains stable and productive.”
Nonetheless, the Minister lamented that too many businesses took advantage of the festival season, yet made no contribution to Crop Over.
He appealed to those guilty of doing so to look at the extent to which they marketed and promoted products and services under the Crop Over brand, and to find a way to give back to the festival.
“I urge you to resolve to make a contribution, however small, to ensuring its sustainability and high quality of production… Sponsorship does not always have to be in large amounts. I fully understand that there are many smaller enterprises that may not be able to afford major sponsorship. I would like to assure you that any level of sponsorship offered will be most welcomed and greatly appreciated,” Minister Lashley said.