By Aminata Ceesay
The National Centre for Arts and Culture on Friday kicked off a two-day national stakeholders’ forum on a new cultural policy for The Gambia funded by UNESCO.
Speaking at the event, Honourable Demba Jawo, the information minister, deputizing the minister of tourism and culture, said: “The main objective is to review the 1988 policy, ascertain its weaknesses and, develop a new and more proactive cultural policy to guide the process of national development.
“Culture is a priority of the government, in all the plans of the government such as job creation, sustained economic growth and national reconciliation, culture has a limitless and central role. Therefore I should urge all of you to give this meeting its due consideration and partake in it to the fullest so that the contribution of each and every sub-sector of culture and arts you represent will have its ideas reflected. We did not want a situation where the new policy will be published in the gazette and people say we were not consulted.”
Also speaking, the chairman of NCAC board, Mr Orene Joiner said: “A robust culture policy together with an up to date legal framework and strengthened NCAC will form the bedrock for the rise of the sector to higher heights. I have always prioritized planned or strategized action plan for cultural regeneration and repositioning.
“I have used my own professional background as a banker to see how artists could make money from their art. I wish to see artists earn a decent living from the art they do. I am convinced that it is only an inclusive systematic vision as espoused in a policy document that can find answers to my wish and also put the culture sector on a sound footing.”
Alagie Baba Ceesay, director general NCAC board said: “The project is to be implemented through a consultative process with the participation of government agencies and stakeholders outside government, including local communities, civil society and actors in the arts, culture and tourism industries, culminating in a two-day national stakeholder forum which will bring together representatives of the various stakeholder groupings in a working session to provide direction for the new policy.”