National cultural policy reform in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Ministry of Culture (State Party), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
IFCD funding: USD 43,605 | Timeline: February 2012 – February 2013

© Erick Pichardo

About the project

Aim
The aim of this project, part of an overall policy reform process, is to update Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' (SVG) national cultural policy to reflect current trends and needs on the ground.

About the organization
The Ministry of Culture is responsible for developing and implementing the country’s cultural policies. The Ministry also serves as the focal point for government interventions which facilitate development and visibility of cultural and creative endeavors. The Ministry is engaged in the following areas: providing visual and performing arts training; organizing events (such as shows, festivals, lectures); providing advice and project planning assistance to groups and institutions in the cultural fields and finally providing financial support for national cultural institutions among others.

Local Context
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a small developing island state in the Caribbean. It is an open economy and has, in recent years, lost its preferential access to the UK in the Banana trade, which was the nation’s primary export. Thus, the country has been looking at many avenues of diversification including the cultural industries. In this area, while much potential has been identified, there are nonetheless stumbling blocks pertaining to organizational deficiencies and the necessity for actors in the cultural industries to adopt robust business models over the more informal frameworks previously used.

A broad national policy will help address matters such as training methods for these sectors, the kinds and levels of incentives made available, export strategies and the overall coordination of government interventions. In tandem with those elements of policy development, work must also be undertaken to strengthen institutions and organizations which are focal points for the individuals and groups operating in the sector.

Main objectives
The main objective of this project is to update Saint Vincent and the Grenadines national cultural policy, with a focus on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. This long term objective is being reached through capacity building of individuals involved in the local cultural industries and strengthening of both associations and organizations considered as actors. The goal is to create an environment in which new businesses may emerge in a thriving cultural industry sector.

Main activities
This project’s activities include the reform of cultural policies in an effort to reinforce institutional infrastructures that optimize the development impact of culture. The launch of this project was mediatised, so that it involved all cultural industry actors into consultations. These are taking place throughout the country, with groups of varying sizes, in sessions with 70 to 120 participants and also in small group meetings comprising between 5 and 15 participants.

This will be followed by the drafting of a policy reform document. This document will then be circulated and discussed in meetings both small and large throughout Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Once it is finalized, this document will be presented at a media conference in the capital city, Kingstown. Workshops informed by policy reform will then take place. Organizations affected by reform or created after the policy comes into effect will be registered at the Commercial and Intellectual Property Office. Finally, the Ministry will set-up a secretariat in Kingstown to ensure ongoing interactions with those organizations.

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