National Cultural Policy Consultations moving apace, Second Phase set to begin October 15

The Government of Guyana through the Department of Culture will be furthering its commitments to implement a national cultural policy by hosting a series of consultations scheduled for October 15-17, 2019 at the Hotel Tower, commencing from 9 am daily.

The consultation process – spearheaded by Director of Culture, Tamika Boatswain with assistance from Ruel Johnson, Cultural Policy Advisor to the Government of Guyana – was launched in 2015 based on the commitment by the current administration to mainstream culture in development, protect our cultural heritage, and support the development of the cultural and creative industries.

This second phase of consultations will see the government partnering with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to execute the three-day process which targets government agencies, the private sector and non-governmental stakeholder organisations.  Lead facilitator for the workshops will be Jamaican Mr. Sydney Bartley, a leading regional expert on cultural policy.  Mr. Bartley will be accompanied by Mr. Yuri Peshkov, Programme Specialist for Culture in the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office.

Prior to the launch of the national consultations on cultural policy development in 2015, Guyana saw the development of a UNESCO-sponsored document on cultural policy in 1977, written by A.J. Seymour, the then Director of Creative Writing in the Institute of the Creative Arts.

Today, the global consensus is that it is critical to have a policy in place that mainstreams culture and creativity in development.  This view was reinforced by Dr. George Norton – Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, who also holds responsibility for Culture – at the June 2019 meeting of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), which was held under the theme, “Leveraging CARICOM’s Cultural Assets for the Sustainable Development of the Community”.

“It is up to us, the policy makers, to foster an environment which lends support to the artistic community through development-friendly policies which address capacity building, technical assistance and assistance to source funding which will inevitably transcend into economic value for each nation and the community at large,” Minister Norton stated in his address to the Council.

The Opening Ceremony of the consultations begins at 9 am, Tuesday, October 15th at Tower Hotel.  Coverage is invited for the opening ceremony and throughout the duration of the consultations.