Opening Remarks at Creative Industries Seminar, UWI

Presented by Dr. The Honourable Nyan Gadsby Dolly


169 million dollars. This was the estimated annual revenue for the Music Industry according to a study conducted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2004, more than a decade ago. In 2014, the Fashion Industry yielded an impressive $266,350,000, whilst the Film Industry earned a noteworthy $37 million during the period 2007-2016[1].

The Creative Industry is making a bold statement in Trinidad and Tobago’s economic landscape; it is this country’s most viable solution in making that seismic shift from a carbon intensive economy to an innovative, sustainable and globally competitive paradigm. This Industry, dubbed the “Orange economy”, represents the intersection of our world-renowned mas industry, theatre community, our budding film producers, dancers, musicians, masters of the steelpan, Ramleela, craft artisans, the Canboulay re-enactment, our stick fighters, and a host of other fraternities that give Trinidad and Tobago’s its distinct thumbprint.

This fact is coupled with the extensive social media penetration of platforms pertaining to the creative industry; with approximately 730,000 Facebook users in Trinidad and Tobago, the top two sites with the largest audiences originate from the music industry, with approximately 650,000 persons subscribing to each page[2]. This speaks to the vast potential of the creative industry to dominate the online communications platforms, with an estimated 3 billion persons using these channels[3].

Ladies and gentlemen,  the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, represents one of the Government’s main executing arms for expanding the creative sector’s hatchery for innovation. One of our proudest accomplishments for 2017 was the birth of our Craft Market, which created a space for dozens of local artisans to trade their products and services, and we intend to replicate this success story of September 2017, throughout the corners of Trinidad and Tobago. The Craft Market has become the new trend in local shopping, and it is my fervent hope that the “Made in Trinidad and Tobago” label will be ubiquitous across our supermarkets, malls and even beyond our shores.

But achieving this task is no small feat. Implementing the appropriate policies to create favourable economic climates, networking with the international business community, and a creative sector working assiduously to deliver a globally competitive service are some of the core elements required. The Ministry, through its new strategic plan, forthcoming Culture Policy, and ongoing programmes and incentives such as the Best Village Trophy Competition, Community Education or Skills Training Programme, will continue to bolster the industry by harnessing the creative potential from our communities.

I wish to commend the Institute of International Relations for designing today’s workshop to discuss core issues relating to this industry; these conversations will provide useful recommendations for policymakers in facilitating the right portals for this sector, which may one day generate the equivalent revenue of the petrochemical industry.

I end with the story of one of this country’s iconic fashion designers, one of the first designers to venture into the Latin American market, Claudia Pegus. Her masterful ability to reflect the Caribbean flare in her clothing contributed to her status as an internationally acclaimed fashion designer.

Ms. Pegus is one of numerous success stories emerging from the Creative sector, and over the years we will continue to see many more artists breaking barriers as they cement their place on the international stage.

I thank you.

[1] Ministry of Trade and Industry. 2017.

[2] Social Bakers. 2017.

[3] Social Media global statistics. 2017.