Published: 12th July, 2017
Photo Captions: (l-r) Mr. Lutalo Masimba, President of Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organization, Dr. The Honourable Nyan Gadsby- Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. Linda Mc Cartha Monica Sandy- Lewis, Calypso Rose, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry and Mr. Calvin Bijou, Chairman of the Trinidad & Tobago Creative Industries Company Limited. Photo credit: Ronald Mendoza Photography
WHILE inadequate availability and high cost of raw materials, and limited access to regional and international markets are real and present challenges, the handicraft sector faces on a daily basis, the industry plays a critical role in representing the culture, traditions and heritage of the country.
This was expressed yesterday by Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at the formal opening of a handicraft symposium titled “Craft and the Economy – Towards Diversification and Development” at Hilton, Port-of- Spain.
Gadsby-Dolly said the creative industry can change the current economic situation on both a micro and macro level.
“Since mid-2014 our country continues to be challenged with the effects of the sharp fall in oil and gas prices, as well as the decline in the production of both crude oil and natural gas,” she said.
“This not-so-new paradigm is therefore forcing Trinidad and Tobago to examine alternate sources of income.” She said in the coming months the ministry intends to launch a craft market at its office in St Ann’s and will invite the corporate sector to partner with them as they push the industry further by providing a consistent, dependable space for artisans to showcase their work to the national public.
Gadsby-Dolly said it is a substantial medium which preserves rich traditional art, heritage and culture, traditional skills and talents which are associated with this country’s lifestyle and history.
She said the handicraft sector can provide employment opportunities and enhance living standards; thereby making a positive impact on economic development of the State, and it can also be a viable medium for foreign earning.
“The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts is providing a platform to brainstorm, and to discuss the best ways to improve the business environment in an integrated manner.
As partners with the artisans, we need to examine the creation of markets for handicraft made in Trinidad and Tobago; we must discuss how to encourage and foster entrepreneurship in this industry as well as what should be the ministry’s and by extension the Government’s role in facilitating this success.” Gadsby-Dolly said the ultimate output from the two-day symposium should be a list of priorities to commercialise this country’s traditional handicraft, and the basis of a strategic plan to move forward.