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Monday President Irfaan Ali announced Government will double the earnings made by local artistes from the ‘one Guyana’ Concert during the recent Cricket Carnival held in Guyana.
At a meeting with artistes at State House, Ali said that the government will continue to make the needed investments to further propel and develop the entertainment industry.
Some artistes told Village Voice they want more than a one-off payment for an event. One artiste told this publication the industry would appreciate the President investing some oil money in developing the recording industry and modernise the copyright law.
Ali bragged to those at the meeting that the concert had an online viewership of more than 100,000. “We had 89 local artistes on the one Guyana stage, 89 local artistes. The cost of the production was borne completely by the Government. We brought in the corporate sponsors to get them to sponsor tickets. Every single cent in revenue, $6.9m went to those 89 artistes ranging from between $100,000 to $300,000, as promised.”
And to complement this and ensure the artistes fully benefit the government will provide an equivalent $6.9m., stated Ali.
“I want to say to you that we continue to be your partner in your own development, in the development of our culture, the development of your talents and the promotion of ‘one Guyana’ as a destination that is not only diverse by people and culture but is rich in talent and ready to explode on the international stage.”
But as the President announced he wanted it to be known he is proud of Guyanese talent some artistes have reservations. Artistes continue to express the view the Government of Guyana does not invest in them compared to their Caribbean counterparts in Barbados, Jamaica and elsewhere.
One artiste told this publication the money the President will be giving to artistes is taxpayers’ and what is important to him is the future which is paved with challenges. Is the government prepared to meet with the artistes to look into this, he asked. “The industry needs sustainability and the support of government but for now is every man fuh himself.”
But listening to the President, whilst “Guyana’s talent might still be raw and fresh in many ways, …we never and will never lack the capacity and capability to make it on any stage, [and] I intend to invest in talent that we have, to make it regional and global.” To this comment, another artiste injected, “show me the money.”