Management of Crop Over will not be moved from the National Cultural Foundation, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley reaffirmed last night against the backdrop of suggestions that the annual festival might have outgrown the NCF.
Fellow Cabinet Minister, Richard Sealy, had last month reportedly suggested that this premiere Barbados festival had become too much for NCF and it should be taken over by another entity.
But Lashley used the occasion of a Crop Over Awards Ceremony at the Hilton to say that the festival remains firmly under NCF’s control.
“I have heard at least one view that Crop Over has now outgrown the NCF and that we should look at having another entity produce Crop Over,” Lashley said, adding, “I have differed from this perspective because it is clear to me that not only has the NCF done extremely well to build the festival, but the fact that Crop Over has grown over the years has not been by chance but by careful strategic planning particularly over the past five years led by the NCF and the stake holders”.
“I am satisfied that we have been able over the years to build a mature and exciting Crop Over product, and I have to thank the NCF and our stakeholders for having successfully done so,” he added.
In spite of what he said was an overall successful 2017 festival, Lashley conceded that some areas saw below par performances.
“Over the last five years, there has been a steady decline in the audience numbers at the semi-final stage of the competition and so there is still a need for open dialogue on this matter in the interest of protecting this festival product.”
In terms of sponsorship, Lashley said the preliminary figures suggest that whereas there was an increase in the in-kind sponsorship, there was a dip in the monetary contributions for the season.
“That being said, we have had the blessing of some sponsors returning to the fold. We have had increased levels of participation from others; and 2017 will still be recorded as one of the biggest years for prizes in the competitions.”