There's a tendency for Bahamians and other "sensible people" to express scepticism regarding the value of the arts. Word has it that there's a fairly widespread consensus that the hosting and/or attendance at CARIFESTA is a waste of money and time.
However, there's no similar consensus that direct expenditure on the hiring of international (read Madison Avenue) advertising firms is a similar waste. And yet such expenditure has not borne dividends in the refocussing or development of our tourism industry.
Look at what the arts, on the other hand, is doing for Guyana, traditionally not a tourist destination:
Canadian based Guyanese and other theatre enthusiasts from the Caribbean Diaspora and Canada are receiving a sample of CARIFESTA and at the same time contributing to the Canadian contingent's participation in CARIFESTA X with the premiere of "Sweet, Sweet Karaila."
It's an entirely different demographic from the one we generally target. Is our expenditure on CARIFESTA ($0.5 million to attend this year, and $15-$20 million over three years to host) really any more wasteful than the $12 million we found to engage the new advertising firm this past January?