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Caribbean

Published on May 15th, 2016 | by wired868.com

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Our other oil: How the T&T economy can benefit from arts and culture

I refer to the arts and culture sector. This is our other oil. Sadly, the sector has been ritualistically bragged about but never brought mainstream into our economic life. Suddenly, there is a belief that we can immediately put our other oil into production but do we have a marketable product? If persons hear a pan side playing in a square abroad, where do they go or what do they do to plan an art and culture tourism visit to Trinidad? If they get here, what do we have readily available to show them?

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind because we had to expand my get involved time to include taking part in the Bocas Lit Fest as a first time book author, as a participant in a panel on Shakespeare and as a spectator. The Bocas Lit Fest began with a function by the National Library and Information System (NALIS) to honour first time authors, who had books published in the 24-month period from April 1 to March 31 in 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, and to open an exhibition of our books.

Seventy-one of us published in that period.  That is a significant number for a small country like ours. Moreover, the range of subject matter was wide and varied as were the ages of the authors. To give an idea of the variation in subjects, there was a murder thriller, several motivational books in prose and in poetry, one “all about natural kinky curly hair”, an account of the life of Inshan Ali, the cricketer and mystery spinner, authored by his sister and Roy Cape’s book about his life, emerging from the orphanage to become a world class musician.

Thank you NALIS for a warm and well-organised morning.

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