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Plans for creative company put on hold
Creative industry practitioners are looking forward to continued dialogue and consultation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry as plans for the proposed Creative Industries Company (CIC) are being re-considered.
After a meeting on January 24 which included proposed CIC stakeholders and representatives from the trade ministry, it was decided that the creation of the company would be put on hold to allow those involved to go back to the drawing board and to sort out any concerns. At the meeting, stakeholders expressed concerns about the CIC, which they viewed as political interference which would create more bureaucracy.
They also questioned the ministry’s plan to set up an overarching body which would oversee the different sectors within the creative industries. In an earlier report, director of investments for the ministry Wayne Punnette responded by saying,” 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.”
In a telephone interview, however, filmmaker Danielle Dieffenthaller said it was unfortunate the situation with the stakeholders of the proposed CIC and the ministry had now taken a step backwards. “It would have been great if they consulted with us from the beginning,” she said.
Dieffenthaller said her major concern with the proposed CIC was that stakeholders had not received “a single coherent plan” as to how it would function efficiently. “They don’t seem very clear on what it is or how it is supposed to function. Right now it seems to be going down the road of a T&T Entertainment Company or Tourism & Industrial Development Company (Tidco).”
She said while she has not received any news of a follow-up meeting with representatives from the ministry, she hoped they would be able to come up with a comprehensive plan that would satisfy the needs of the sector. In the film industry specifically, she said, he government needed to be “invested in the people” and to help creative industry practitioners to create a sense of national awareness and identity.
President of the Artists Coalition (ACTT) Rubadiri Victor said members of the creative industries sector needed to be commended for their solidarity, which had helped to change the Government’s mindset and to allow for consultation between stakeholders and the ministry. He said the various member groups had exercised “citizen power” which enabled them to bring their concerns about the proposed CIC to the bargaining table.
Referring to 129 line items presented by the ACTT which were approved in the 2010 and 2011 budgets, Victor said these suggestions were removed from the 2013 budget to make way for the proposed CIC. He said the ministry had agreed to reinstate the line items and ACTT hoped to see between 60 and 77 of them reinstated within the fiscal year.
Victor also criticised the format of the CIC model, saying, “At this stage, we don’t need generalised companies, we need specialised companies.” Local fashion designer Robert Young said if steps are made to move forward with the proposed CIC, there must be serious consultation with practitioners within the creative sector. “There must be an environment in which experiment, research and development are supported,” he said.
Young also said practitioners needed to be recognised for their creative ideas and ability to “make things of great value.” He said there seemed to be an assumption that they were not capable of managing the business aspect of the sector.
Punnette said there was no set date for a follow-up meeting with the proposed CIC stakeholders and ministry representatives. He said in the meeting which took place last week, the stakeholders made a request to receive the official proposal from the ministry for further analysis.
He said the ministry would soon submit the document to the stakeholders for their perusal after which a meeting could be scheduled.
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