The “Creative Caribbean: An Eco-System of “Play” for Growth and Development” was launched by the members of the CARICOM states, culture ministers and partners on April 21, 2022 in a virtual event. In a keynote address, the CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Armstrong Alexis while launching the project said, “What Creative Caribbean will do is provide resources to action several elements of these strategies, with a focus on direct support to artists and cultural entrepreneurs, while establishing a creative content hub, expanding the UNESCO concept of creative cities, developing model legislation for Creative Industry Development Acts to be introduced in Member States, and improving data collection on the sector.”

The entire planning of the project revolves around PLAY: (P)lanning and research of the cultural aspects, (L)iteracy and capacity building to enable learning of the content and cultural aspects, (A)ccelerators and financing which translates the stated goals into practical cultural works, and finally (Y)ield and dissemination for better engagement and compliance. This is practically translated in the Caribbean festival marketplace, regional and ACP/EU markets, etc. Creative Caribbean Project is a unique project that pursues long-term development solutions for the creative and cultural economies in the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) countries. The 14 CARICOM countries include Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.The Project will continue till 2024 as envisioned to improve the economic opportunities in the unique culture of the CARICOM states and it will offer grants to finance various creative and cultural organizations in these countries. The project is a joint effort of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), CARICOM Secretariat and the University of West Indies; and the project received a 3 million Euros grant under the European Union (EU) programme called “Towards a Viable Cultural Industry: Supporting the Cultural and Creative Sectors in the ACP countries.” The organization of ACP States includes the African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

The EU grant is tailor made to support organizations that contribute to the creative and cultural ecosystem, promote the diversity of the Caribbean culture and generate economic growth. Creative Caribbean Industry targets the artists/entrepreneurs with a proportional target of 50% women and 40% youth below 32 years of age. Other supported groups include professional groups in the trade involving intermediary art organizations, and even secondary/tertiary academic faculty/students/researchers.
Under the heads of industry and environment grant schemes, the entire funds are classified into multiple subgroups further which can be applied by industries and creative worker, institutions, individuals, etc. as eligible. The effort can garner genuine benefits for the Caribbean population and help in the rejuvenation of the unique culture of the island states in the Caribbean. The region’s history of migrants from India, Africa, Latin America should become the key to re-connect with the cultural capitals again in the 21st Century.

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