Creative, healthy citizens capable of functioning in a knowledge-based global environment underscore the important role of culture in CARICOM’s agenda to build a resilient Community with improved quality of life for its people.
The Caribbean’s depth and diversity enjoy international acclaim. The only musical acoustic instrument invented in the 20th century – the steel pan - was produced in CARICOM. So too were: Song of the Millennium – Bob Marley’s “One Love; the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt and several Nobel Laureates, to cite other examples. At the regional level, the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) continues to offer a platform for regional practitioners to hone and promote their creative skills and, at the same time, provides economic benefits for host nations and the Region's tourism sector.
CARICOM governments have increasingly acknowledged the potential of the cultural and creative industries to the economies of the Region. Several countries have demonstrated their comparative advantage in various cultural industries especially in music, craft, literary arts, culinary arts, fashion design, festivals, theatre, film and cultural tourism, and have gained significant international recognition for their cultural expressions, products and services. Governments recognize that these industries, used as leverage points, could build regional competitiveness and increase the export of cultural and creative services. In the process, they create employment opportunities, particularly for Youth; tourism diversification and contribute to poverty reduction goals. In this context, Governments agree that an enabling environment with the necessary policy, legislative and institutional support is of critical importance.
The CARICOM Secretariat, particularly its Culture work programme, has been working with Member States, Community Institutions and a number of regional and international partners to design and implement policies, programmes and projects to exploit to empower the Community’s people to be liberated to their creativity and self-development..
Major activities in 2016
Major activities in 2016 include:
- Promoting culture in the the implementation of the SIDS agenda - (a) Barbados Plan of Action (b) Mauritius Strategy (c) Samoa Pathway
- Developing and implementing regional and national strategic action plans for the Services Sector.
- Developing a regional education and human resource development strategy and ensuring that culture is integrated at all levels.