Dixie-Ann Dickson

Representatives of the Trade and Investment Ministry and stakeholders from the creative industry have once again failed to see eye to eye at the third consultation on the establishment of the T&T Creative Company. As a result, creation of the company is on hold again pending further consultations

The session, held on Wednesday, was hosted by the T&T Coalition Services Industries(TTCSI) at the Hilton Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Wayne Punnette, director of Investments at the Trade Ministry, presented a revised version of the Ministry’s proposal for a T&T creative company, which is now to be called Creative TT. At the last consultation on January 28, Punnette said the ministry would take suggestions from stakeholders and revise the proposal.

The new proposal includes a further breaking up of the creative sector, which received mixed reactions, but the majority disapproved of the idea. Punnette said Creative TT will serve as the body to coordinate and support the sector and provide strategic direction as well. Its mandate is to stimulate and facilitate business development and export activities and ensure harmonisation of policies within creative industries. He explained that different sectors of the creative industries would be spread across the various ministries and the Trade ministry would only focus on three out of the seven sectors originally under its purview.

Punnette said the three sectors would form three subsidiary companies—Music TT, Fashion TT and the T&T Film Company. The other sections of Creative TT would include legal, marketing and research, ICT, administration, finance and intellectual property departments. For other sectors of creative industries, publishing and literature would be under Planning Ministry, while arts, heritage and festivals would fall under Arts and Multiculturalism and Tourism.

Punnette said while the sectors have been split up across the various ministries, there would be significant collaboration and support and the cluster would be guided by a comprehensive strategic plan. But the idea did not sit too well with stakeholders who did not agree with the breaking up of the sector. Only a few saw it as a step in the right direction. Timmia Hearn, vice president of the National Drama Association, said the creative industry does not need a business manager, as she and most of her colleagues are owners of their businesses.“We do not need a bottleneck company that decides where our money goes, but an enabling environment and a development sector that would assist financially,” she said.
Hearn received a thundering round of applause.