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Artist and entertainer will have to endure another year of struggle and pain. Producers, artists, musicians and others see themselves as entertainers in the service sector of the Cultural Industry. This is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Part of the explanation for this explosion is technological advancements. Another explanation would be the changing trends in consumer demand for quality entertainment.

For more than 30 years, Dominica has been trend setting in music production – just like Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. However, we have not established a clear policy on Cultural Development. This is a necessary tool for developing a cultural industry in order to take advantage of our unique cultural product. Before we can do this however, we must first understand what culture means.

Following the modern trends, culture is a position taken by a people to take advantage of their talent and uniqueness for the benefit of all. It is a global positioning for economic and social development likewise, Dominicans need to appreciate what makes them different and find space on the global stage to be Dominican.

It is the lack of such an understanding that frustrates those who can’t wait to benefit from the successful launch of a Cultural Industry in Dominica.

Entertainers must be disappointed that the VAT on cultural goods and services was not addressed in the recent budget. Amplifiers for example, tool crucial for transmitting cultural expression, attract a 15% Vat. It almost triples the retail on equipment and instruments needed to provide this basic service.

Musicians in particular have expressed the need for a tax break. They complain that revenue from shows is too heavily taxed. They say no one seems to be listening. Maybe they are right because the budget did not address the need for a lower tax rate on cultural goods and services. Musicians think the government is taking and not giving back to artists.

Every develop country in the world subsidizes culture. This makes it possible for the artists, producers and others involved reinvesting in themselves. Calypsonians for instance don’t expect 100% subsidies but they do expect some leeway.

Cultural performances here and abroad promote Dominica effectively. Our artists are the true ambassadors! They have been doing more to promote the country than any paid promoter or public official. Yet they are not recognized in tangible ways. Artists are the frontline in sensitizing people about the beauty of Dominica. They are also the one key to explaining the difference between Dominica and the Dominican Republic.

Imagine Dominica’s reputation without the work Ophelia and Exile One and Jeff Joseph, for example, in the French West Indies and the magnitude of the problem stares at us all. Giving awards and diplomatic positions is not enough. It is time for Dominica and this government to take entertainment seriously.

Source:This article was posted in The Tip! – A free publication published every Wednesday and distributed through-out Dominica.

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