The National Cultural Recognition Policy


Madame Speaker

I have been authorised by the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago to make the following statement.

I have the privilege of laying before this Honourable House, the National Cultural Recognition Policy (NCRP) for The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, as a White Paper.

On February 12, 2020 I had the privilege of laying before this Honourable House, the country’s first National Policy on Culture and the Arts as a Green Paper for public comment.  That ground breaking policy initiative, with its vision of a thriving, inclusive and dynamic cultural sector at the centre of national development, is the impetus for this National Cultural Recognition Policy which responds to several goals and objectives in the draft National Policy on Culture and the Arts. Two of those related goals are:

  1. To enhance cultural confidence by enriching the participation of all in cultural development that transforms the social and economic experiences of the nation; and
  2. To support artists, entrepreneurs and industry associations in the production of high quality output.

The National Cultural Recognition Policy’s contribution to these goals is premised on the view that encouraging and rewarding cherished qualities in the nation’s artists will produce artists who innovate and consistently produce superior cultural products, while encouraging consistent financial supporters of Trinidad and Tobago’s art forms.

The NCRP will deliver three types of cultural recognition initiatives:

  1. Cultural Awards, which seek to honour excellence in culture and the arts,
  2. Cultural Ambassadors who will promote the culture of Trinidad and Tobago afield, and
  3. Cultural Legends which will commemorate the long and meritorious work of artists and artistes in the cultural sector.

The Cultural Awards component carries ten (10) categories of awards, allowing a range of artists at different stages in their journey in the arts, to be recognized.  The ten categories are:

  1. Best New Artist/Artiste/Group

ii.      Most Consistent Artist/Artiste/Group

iii.     Most Innovative Artist/Artiste/Group

iv.     International Breakthrough Artist/Artiste/Group

v.      Outreach/Advocate Individual/Artist/Artiste/Group

vi.     Cultural Heritage Award

vii.    Sustainable Environment Award

viii.   Cultural Entrepreneur of the Year

ix.     Champion of the Arts Award

x.      Culture and Arts Education Award

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 of Trinidad and Tobago 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 of Trinidad and Tobago, and to promote this nation globally, as the premier cultural and heritage tourism destination in the Caribbean.

The NCRP will devolve a range of benefits to awardees and the nation as a whole.  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:

  1. A one-time bursary in their name for undergraduate degree in any performing, literary or visual arts discipline at a local university.
  2. The issuance of a Diplomatic Passport to the cultural legend for the duration of his/her life.
  3. Lifetime pass for two (2) at National Performing Spaces, the National Museum and Art Gallery, the Queen’s Park Savannah and Shaw Park.
  4. A commemorative biographical magazine, and
  5. A permanent artist expression for display at the National Museum and the Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago.
  6. A cash benefit of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00).

A National Cultural Recognition Committee will oversee this array of award programmes. The Committee will have a three year life cycle and comprise senior public officers and cultural experts drawn from academia, the media, young artists, the business sector and cultural organisations representative of the two major ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago.  Secretarial services for this Committee will be provided by the Culture Division of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.

Madam Speaker, the National Cultural Recognition Programme will reward and encourage excellence in the arts, nurture talent in culture and the arts and impact the expansion and sustainability of financial contributions to culture and the arts from sources outside of Government.   

I am therefore pleased to contribute this important initiative to the cultural ecology of Trinidad and Tobago as a stimulator and energizer to an already dynamic cultural sector; to ensure that the sector deepens its impact on the economy of Trinidad and Tobago, and the lives of every citizen of this beloved nation.

I thank you!