A space for the Caribbean music industry at the big table

Yesterday in Port of Spain, Trinidad, I attended a major workshop, facilitated by Tom Fleming of Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy (TFCC) of the UK, with key stakeholders from across the CARICOM region towards developing a Business Plan for the proposed new Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit (CCIMU). We worked to prioritise the core vision, mission, governance mode, work streams and actions for the CCIMU.

According to TFCC, “the overall purpose of the CCIMU is to address the needs of the regional creative industries, while fostering creativity, developing businesses, creating opportunities and improving trade, and ensuring that the rights and obligations of stakeholders are respected and legally protected. The Business Plan is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and commissioned by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).”

Grand plans, but like the consultation process for our CreativeTT, this seems eerily like a fait accompli, as the persons who were not invited to the consultations—we stormed—senior and seasoned industry persons in film and music, had the most input, both critical and timely, much to the frustration of CDB officials. No presence or even knowledge of the event by CreativeTT and MusicTT persons, but Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts officials were at the head table. Creative industries looks now to be floating around from pillar to post.

As this played out, a major report was released this week on the global independent music industry, which is closer in structure to our own, more so than the standard “major label” model often cited in statistics defining our industry. Produced by the Worldwide Independent Network, WIN, a representative organisation exclusively for the worldwide independent label community, the report tells us, that WIN “has a network of local representatives from additional territories where there is no independent Trade Association in place,” including the Caribbean!

The data shortage or inaccessibility cited in the CCIMU meeting yesterday by the experts is balanced with the hope that as we build our creative industries including music, our space at the table will not be stymied by bureaucrats and technocrats. Someone is watching, and it’s for stakeholders to get to doing. Now!

© 2016, Nigel A. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.

Over the course of the last year MIDiA has been working with WIN (the global indie label trade body) on a major study to define the independent sector’s contribution to the global recorded music business. The default accepted wisdom is that the indies account for something like 20% of the global revenue total. However, this […]

via The Real Value Of The Independent Sector — Music Industry Blog

3 thoughts on “A space for the Caribbean music industry at the big table”

      1. As one of the ‘official’ stormers, let me posit a few comments:

        1. there are a few media releases indicating that 120 stakeholders from across the member states were consulted in this process. Who and how they were selected is still a mystery;
        2. It felt like the POS meeting was simply to validate or rubber stamp the process to enable Caribbean Export to present this Business Plan to the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in early July. At the POS meeting, when questions were asked about the consultative/feedback process, the small group was assured that comments would be circulated within 3 days for further comment and validation. One week later and that did not happen. In fact on June 18, we received a nicely worded thank you along with the said Tom Flemming document to be taken to the heads.

        But I pause to raise publicly a few of the main questions asked:

        1. Why is Caribbean Export (CE) seeking to establish a unit with work streams (their word) which will compete with service providers in the Creative sectors?
        2. Why should the Private Sector (PS) endorse a top heavy governmental/institutional governance structure as evidenced in the proposed business plan?
        3. With no funds in the kitty, why should the Creative Sectors give this any serious consideration?

        Apart from its lack of competencies in this specialised area, a number of troubling issues have been flagged and certainly in the last 6-8 months about the poor governance and management performance of CE. Serious allegations have come to the fore about 10th European Development Funds (EDF) received by CE and there are a number of lawsuits from former employees and persons who have business with CE. Further, talk in the development circles suggests that CE will have no money by the end of June 2016, yet they (CE) are rushing to get this US2mil business plan for the Creative Industries Management Unit (CCIMU) approved by the Heads in July. If this is true, where is the fiscal responsibility and due diligence of the Caribbean Development Bank? Do the same standards not apply to institutions as they apply to the rest of us? (see below)

        Most importantly, the creative sectors need to subscribe to another level of gate-keeping. Resources can be used to strengthen industry bodies and initiatives as has been resolved and recommended over years in the region. Simply, CE should focus on efforts to get member states to harmonise trade policies, incentivise and support the sectors; get governments to implement national policies including investment schemes, strengthening of IP regimes, telecoms and broadcasting etc. Leave the business to the people doing business.

        We Are Watching May 30, 2016 at 3:00 PM #

        We Are Watching

        All has been quite here at CE. The dreaded July deadline will soon be upon us and the ED will be giving individuals their walking papers and telling them thanks for their services. We all sit and wonder how will staff be rationalised. The irony is that there is no formal process for keeping an individual based on performance. As the records have demonstrated these simply do not exist.

        What is more telling is the facial expressions on the staff members within the office. Some look so dejected and very concerned. One particular staff member who is very friendly with the Manager, is now some how concerned that she could receive the same fate as the colleagues that were dispatched in the last round. Imagine, she now wants to question whether or not staff will be paid out or even have employee rights. She was NOT concerned before when it affected other colleagues, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, she cares. My advice to her and other colleagues check your contract and consult a lawyer or the Tribunal or NIS.

        It is a pity that she and others like her are NOW concerned about their welfare and livelihoods. They did not see that it was a matter of time, as CE will NOT BE AWARDED RECORDED FUNDING FROM THE EU UNDER THE 11TH EDF and most importantly is not technically capable of generating income.

        Well like they say on a sinking ship ‘every man for himself’ and what is even more important whether or not you can ‘swim’ when the ship is fully submerged as it will be difficult to find work in this tight and retracting Barbados economy. But, as the procedures state, we as employees should receive assistance in being prepared for the working world.

        It appears that the tale of “Things Fall Apart” is very true and applicable to CE. Did you see Pamela in the Advocate last week posing with CIPA’s exporter of the year award. She looked as if her spirit is down and not her joyful bubbly self. The reason I raise this observation is that this award has no meaning or basis. Check the facts, has anyone heard of the previous exporter winners excelling to higher heights? It is evident that the centre cannot hold and Pamela and her world will crumble and dissipate like a bad odour at LESC.

        We Are Watching April 7, 2016 at 10:55 AM #

        You know more things change the more they remain the same. Reliable sources have informed me that PCH [Pamela Coke-Hamilton] is now trying desperately to win over the Honourable Minister in Barbados. I have to say this is so crazy. On one hand PCH and her management team have been cursing the GOB [Government of Barbados] and pursuing the relocation of CE (Caribbean Export) to another jurisdiction. I also hear that she has been telling the said Minister that it is the staff that is against her and it must be someone inside feeding information to the public. This is unbelievable, as PCH over her reign has removed all staff that she deemed a threat to her or her beloved management team, even when there was no proof of this.

        The clock will soon strike midnight and all at CE will have to reckon with the survival or reduction of the current staff given the financial constraints. PCH is hedging her bets on the next pot of EU funds, the 11th EDF to continue her reign over kingdom.

        What is even more sad, with the current staff compliment CE cannot seem to generate new funding or revenue to keep the financially struggling agency on its legs. So, no there is genuine concern amongst staff (those in favour with PCH) including senior officers in the DR office that they days are number: July 2016. Imagine CE is broke and has no funds and is now using precious country contributions to keep favoured persons.

        It is time that the whole truth be revealed about CE. Please stand up and give you testimony.


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