Jan 13, 2014 News
– AFC calls for more disclosure, slams Govt. for not investing in local entertainment industry
When we look at the money we pump into ensuring that international artists come to our country in fine style, and place that against the work being done for the local artists, it not only reflects a high level of disrespect, but also a failure to promote and care for our own…”
Alliance for Change (AFC) member Trevor Williams is calling for more disclosure on who is behind the funding for the mega concerts being held in Guyana.
Over the past few years, local promoters have gone the extra mile in trying to provide a platform to promote international artistes in Guyana. Just recently, promoters brought nine time Grammy award winner and American Soul singer, John Legend to perform at a show held under the rubric, “A Night of Love” at the Providence Stadium. Performing alongside the artiste was Jamaican reggae superstar, Mr. Beres Hammond.
During the press conference for the American artiste, Minister of Tourism, Irfaan Ali stated that he will be approaching the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh for a greater incentive for the Tourism industry as he is “determined to transform Guyana into the ideal Entertainment spot in the Caribbean.”
In addition to this, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon at a recent press conference even supplied members of the media corps with an update on Ali’s call for an increase on the entertainment package in Cabinet.
“Over 15,000 patrons were reported to have been enthralled by the John Legend show which was at the stadium. Cabinet readily grasped the significance of that promotion, specifically regarding the Guyana Tourism product. The Grand effect was assured and was enormous and it was a logical development of government’s tourism policy in Guyana. A special call was made at Cabinet for the expeditious introduction of an enhanced incentive package for Guyana and its tourism product to encourage more entry into the entertainment industry and thus its contribution to economic development in Guyana,” Luncheon said.
But AFC’s Trevor Williams refers to these comments by Luncheon and Ali as simply, “ridiculous.”
“There is a relationship that is shared between the creative as well as the entertainment industry. How can we call for an increase in the incentive package for the entertainment industry and not call for one that can help support the growth of our local artists? How is it even logical to look towards transforming Guyana into the entertainment capital of the region and not give our local artistes a role to play in such an important industry?”
“We have a lot of local talent in our country and we don’t see anything much being done by the Minister of Culture, Dr. Frank Anthony, for them. When we look at the interest and money we pump into ensuring that international artists come to our country in fine style, and place that against the work being done for the local artists, it not only reflects a high level of disrespect but also a failure to promote and care for our own. Our artistes do not have any legislative protection, the recording studios are expensive, they get no exemptions from certain taxes and yet the Minister claims that he has done sufficiently for the artistes of this country?”
Williams added, “The packages for the local artistes in our country is unsatisfactory and the Ministry of Culture seriously needs to look at this and improve it. As we seek to pilot the call for an increase in the incentive package for the entertainment industry we should also make one for the creative industry. I would even call for a new policy as our local artistes are suffering in their own country.”
While the Member of Parliament does not negate the fact that foreign artists can help boost the country’s image on the international market, he posits that the country’s image should also be piloted by the rich talents of its own human resources.
Moreover, Williams asserts that a call will be made in Parliament for there to be more disclosure about who is funding these extravagant shows.
“It is high time that we know who is funding these shows. It will also be interesting to see what they will be asking for in Parliament as well as it relates to these packages. Truth is, there has always been a lot of silence on who is really funding these concerts and how much these international and regional artists are being paid. This issue is being treated just like the infamous Marriot Hotel. To date we don’t know who the financer is and it is the same thing with these shows but the time is right now and we will definitely be looking into this matter.”
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