Crop Over 2016 is expected to bring many changes.
These are the sentiments of Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who spoke at the Crop Over 2015 Awards, held at the Hilton Barbados Resort last Saturday.
According to Mr. Lashley, one of the major changes to be made pertained to the calculation of Value Added Tax (VAT) during the Crop Over season. “After hearing from the band leaders in particular about challenges they are facing with VAT, I have given instructions for a support team, coordinated by the National Cultural Foundation, to be put in place, to help them to have the VAT issues sorted… I have also suggested to the Ministry of Finance that we have a conversation about how we deal with VAT within the six-week period of Crop Over,” he stated.
Examining the successes and pitfalls of this year’s festival, the Minister described Crop Over 2015 as “a stimulus to the Barbadian economy”. He added that although no tourism figures were available, many hotels spoke of between 80 and 100 per cent occupancy, and car rentals and airline bookings increased.
However, although the festival surpassed expectations, the Minister admitted that more needed to be done to produce the depth and creativity seen in some events at this year’s festival.
“While the portrayals at Grand Kadooment from a heritage and historical perspective showed much improvement, we ask that the portrayals at Junior Kadooment be used as a mirror image for all band leaders. Many stories were told by the children as they paraded inside the National Stadium.
“Let me hasten to say that we are not against ‘pretty mas’; but let’s try to bring a balance to our portrayals, even if it is just a section or two which (would) impactfully tell the Barbadian story,” he encouraged.