President Dr Irfaan Ali assured representatives from the local entertainment industry that his government will make the necessary investments to propel them to higher heights.
The President also announced the development of an action plan that will target every category of the industry and unearth talent nationwide.
He made the announcements during a candid conversation on Tuesday afternoon at State House with performers who took part in the 56th Independence Anniversary Flag Raising Ceremony at Damon Square, Anna Regina in Region Two.
The Head of State said that the Government is mulling a gamut of ideas to push the entertainment sector to the next level, which includes having an artiste exchange programme with Barbados, propelling local artistes to be part of cruise liners’ entertainment programmes, investing in the gaps in the industry to ensure that persons from all genres can thrive, and a special initiative with the private sector to raise resources for priority areas.
“All of this is done because we believe strongly in what you have.”
President Ali charged the performers to see their importance in promoting social cohesion while explaining that they will have critical parts to play in accelerating the ‘One Guyana’ agenda.
“You have the passion, you have the emotions, you have the expression and you have a stage that is essential in pushing this ‘One Guyana’…You are working on a platform that will bring Guyana together”.
The Head of State reminded the performers that his Government has returned $100m to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport’s budget for the development of artistes and the industry as a whole. He said that the money has been set aside, but that the Government and stakeholders in the industry must find an approach that benefits all participants.
“For that to happen, it requires all of us to work together…What I want all of us to build is a unique product—a Guyanese product, a product in which you will all look out for each other, and we will all advance together.”
DEVELOPING REGIONAL TALENT
After the conversation with the performers, President Ali came up with several initiatives aimed at addressing some of the concerns that were raised. He said that the Government will identify a space in every region of Guyana for the development of the dance industry as well as arts and culture.
“We are going to find a building or space in every single region and we are going to designate it for that… we’re going to put security there, we’re going to ensure that there are some basic facilities there so we can develop regional talent.”
The President also proposed for there to be a summer dance programme instituted in every region of the country to target people from all facets of society.
In addition to this, President Ali announced that a National School Choir Championship will be launched in August and will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
For the technicians specifically, the President noted that he will help to find an institute or an organisation to execute training programmes for engineers and technicians in the industry, especially for sound. He added that the Government is supposed to receive US$50,000 for the training of technicians in the industry.
“One of the things that we can never fix in this country is sound. Every stage you go on is a microphone feedback, and it annoys me. So we have to fix it.”
For the vocal artistes, the Government will support a consortium of studios that will give access to locals to record and produce their music.
The President reminded the performers that there will be a Guyana Night during the Cricket Carnival celebrations this year and a Regional Night, where they are also expected to shine.
“We must have the type of talent that we could go on a Regional Night and we can dominate. We’re not going as a sideshow. We are not going as an add-on, we must go there to blow people’s minds with our performance. That is the type of attitude we will develop.”
He said that for the Guyana Night, the Government will set aside $10m for the production and will also look to incorporate the private sector. The revenue that is garnered from this event, the President said, will go back to the performers and the industry.