Proposals for a National Cultural Recognition Policy (NCRP) to support cultural artists and entrepreneurs include issuing lifetime diplomatic passports to people who are cultural legends in addition to $250,000 in cash benefits and other perks.

Culture Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly detailed the plan in Parliament yesterday when she spoke about a White Paper on the policy. This follows the recent presentation of a Green Paper on T&T’s first National Policy on Culture and the Arts.

She said the National Cultural Recognition Policy is designed to enhance cultural confidence “by enriching the participation of all in cultural development that transforms Trinidad and Tobago’s social and economic experiences.” It is also meant to support artists, entrepreneurs and industry associations in the production of high-quality output.

The National Cultural Recognition Policy’s (NCRP) will deliver three types of cultural recognition initiatives:

° Cultural awards which seek to honour excellence in culture and the arts.

° Cultural ambassadors who will promote T&T culture.

° Cultural legends which will commemorate the long and meritorious work of artists and artistes in the cultural sector.

The NCRP will provide a range of benefits to awardees.

Gadsby-Dolly explained: “Beneficiaries of the Cultural Awards Programme will have the permanent honour of having received such a distinguished award. Cultural ambassadors will receive a diplomatic passport for the duration of their term and an honorarium.

“The Cultural Legend will receive an array of benefits, including a one-time bursary in their name for an undergraduate degree in any performing, literary or visual arts discipline at a local university. They also get a diplomatic passport for the duration of his/her life, plus lifetime pass for two at national performing spaces, the National Museum and Art Gallery, the Queen’s Park Savannah and Shaw Park.”

Cultural Legends will also get a commemorative biographical magazine and a permanent artist’s expression for display at the National Museum and Art Gallery. They will also receive a cash benefit of $250,000.00.

The Cultural Awards component carries ten categories of awards, allowing a range of artists at different stages in their journey in the arts, to be recognized.

° Best New Artist/Artiste/Group

° Most Consistent Artist/Artiste/Group

° Most Innovative Artist/Artiste/Group

° International Breakthrough Artist/Artiste/Group

° Outreach/Advocate Individual/Artist/Artiste/Group

° Cultural Heritage Award

° Sustainable Environment Award

° Cultural Entrepreneur of the Year

° Champion of the Arts Award

° Culture and Arts Education Award

Gadsby Dolly added: “Most of these awards target artists, organisations and educators in culture and the arts. However, the Champion of the Arts Award targets persons or organisations who/which consistently support, sustain and promote the arts and culture through their financial generosity.

“These awards require individuals to be of good character and to uphold the values and principles incumbent upon a representative of Trinidad and Tobago. The Cultural Ambassador, in particular, will be expected to promote and advance the culture and to promote Trinidad and Tobago globally, as the premier cultural and heritage tourism destination in the Caribbean.”

A National Cultural Recognition Committee will oversee the award programmes. The committee will comprise senior public officers and cultural experts drawn from academia, the media, young artists, the business sector and cultural organisations representative of T&T’s two major ethnic groups.