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Creative Industries put on hold
The creation of the Creative Industries Company (CIC) has been put on hold in the wake of a four-hour-long meeting on Thursday evening, when stakeholders and representatives from the trade ministry bumped heads on the way forward. Wayne Punnette, director of investments in the ministry, said they would have to go back to the drawing board.
The meeting was held at the Capital Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain. A room full of stakeholders expressed concerns about the Trade Ministry’s idea of setting up an umbrella body to oversee the different sectors within the creative industries.
After listening to all their concerns and questions, Punnette said, “We have to go back to the drawing board and engage in continued dialogue in order to move the process forward and get a consensus for both sides, which we all would be comfortable with.”
The proposed CIC which was reportedly to be headed by businessman Derek Chin, owner of Movie Towne, was to assist in the development of the different sectors and the marketing and commercial aspect of the industry. The board is yet to be confirmed. Earlier reports said Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said after pumping $90 million into the sector, Government was not receiving the expected return on investment.
He said the industry was not sufficiently viable and the establishment of the company would help eliminate the existing bureaucracies, create a proper structure and commercialise the industry so as to attract a global market. But this idea did not sit well with many of the stakeholders. Punnette explained that the company would have an advisory council, which would comprise representatives from the different sectors the company represented.
The sectors include:
•New media and the arts
•Music and entertainment (excluding Carnival arts, festivals and heritage).
Punnette said the T&T Film Company would retain its identity, but would act as a subsidiary of the CIC. He said the ministry was still working out the modalities of the process, but had been working behind scenes on other initiatives for the sector, such as the removal of import duties and taxes, which was part of the Finance Bill 2013 to be laid in Parliament next week. He said the ministry is working to make the removal permanent.
This was not enough for the stakeholders, as they said they viewed the CIC as political interference which would create more bureaucracy. Among those who spoke were Dion Boucaud from the film industry, Fabien Alfonso (music and entertainment), Christopher Nathan (fashion), Gail Guy (new media and arts), Rubadiri Victor, head of the Artists Coalition, Christopher Laird, CEO and co-founder of Gayelle and fashion designer Meiling.
Their main concerns were:
• What were the rationale and mandate for this model?
• How involved would the CIC be in terms of development, especially for the film industry, which requires a lot of developmental strategies to be viable and sustainable?
• The stakeholders in the film industry had a problem with the structure of the advisory council.`
• How did the main CIC board plan to address all the needs of each sector effectively?
• How would the finances be distributed to the various industries?
• Why leave out other sectors like festivals and heritage, if all the sectors fall under the creative industry banner? No sector should be left out.
• How would the sector manage under this company, as well as having to deal with the state agencies that each sector falls under? Several state agencies, including the ministries of Trade, Arts and Multiculturalism, National Diversity and
Integration and Planning are responsible for different sectors.
• What were the criteria for development and commerce, as each sector has a different business model and needs?
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