Consultations to develop and craft a solid cultural policy have been deemed fruitful by Advisor on Cultural Policy, Ruel Johnson.
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Johnson said a number of consultations were held in 2014 and 2015 to garner input and feedback on citizenship, culture, the environment and religion so as to properly frame the cultural policy. “The feedback was fruitful enough for me to be able to define what you call a cultural development agenda which was absent from previous manifestos cultural policy,” he explained.
According to Johnson, the cultural development agenda would play a critical role in the crafting of the cultural policy and this would give Guyana an edge over other countries. “I haven’t seen any natural cultural policy from the ones that I perused that have a specific complement that deals with cultural development in a direct way,” he explained.
The environment, education, citizenship, cultural heritage preservation and protection and, creative industries development were highlighted as the main areas of focus.
The cultural policy advisor noted that diversification will play a major role in developing the cultural policy. He pointed out that most people believe that developed countries such as the USA are multicultural but are really not.
Johnson said, in Guyana, “you could sit in a bus and you see about five different types of hair textures that all belong here and they do not seem out of place.” He is of the view that Guyana could use its cultural heritage create income and also “use it to influence our place in the world and give us a greater voice than we have at present.”He stated that Guyana’s ethnic makeup can be an example to the developed countries.
According to Johnson, once our creative industries are established, Guyana can “teach these fairly homogenous nations about diversity and how you manage diversity, how you represent diversity.”
Due to the nature of the National Cultural policy, completion and implementation can take approximately five to ten years.
The last document to be considered a national cultural policy, was written by the Director of Creative Writing in the Institute of Creative Writing, AJ Seymour, in 1977.