Minister ignored creative arts — stakeholders say

BY: Kojo Elorm Ntumy
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Madam Catherine Afeku
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Madam Catherine Afeku

Some stakeholders in the creative arts industry have expressed dissatisfaction at how the sector was ignored by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Madam Catherine Afeku, during her Meet the Press series on Monday.

After being criticised for her seeming inaction at the Ministry, Madam Afeku used the opportunity to clarify a number of issues of concern but some of the players in the field whom Showbiz spoke to said she was too focused on the tourism sector.

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Veteran actor and producer, Abeiku Sagoe told Showbiz he felt the Minister did not do justice to their sector.

“Tourism cannot be developed in isolation so we need to place some emphasis on the creative arts and cultural components such as festivals among others. If we do so, naturally, our tourism will benefit from those sectors,” he said.

Former Public Relations Officer of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) Ola Michaels, said most of the achievements the Minister highlighted were tourism related.

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He, however, commended Madam Afeku for taking the initiative to interact with the press. “It’s the first time so that’s a plus, for the Minister to want to meet the press, this should be commended although I believe we can do better.”

The Convener for the Federation of Concerned Arts Professionals, Mel Kwasi Davis, commended the Minister for holding the event but questioned why most of her efforts were focused on the tourism sector.

He also took exception to the Minister’s decision to give approval for Richard Boateng to undertake research and gather data about the film sector.

“For the Minister to agree to give a contract to a single individual does not mean well for us because there are recognised institutions that are well equipped to undertake research for the sector.

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For me, it was not a good day for the creative acts sector,” he said.

The co-Convener of the Ghana Culture Forum, Akunu Dake said it was a positive move.

“The Minister has expressed her willingness to engage with the press and her open door policy is something all stakeholders should take advantage of,” he said.

He however bemoaned the inability of the press to ask follow-up questions,

The Director of Communications of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Daddy Bosco said the meet the press event was a good first step.

“For me such interactions engender communication. For the past year, the media have had the impression that there is a communication gap between them and the Minister but today she broke that barrier.

She’s very accessible and she proved that today, together with her deputies. I am an optimist so I am looking forward to better days for the creative arts industry,” he said.

Among some of the policies and projects the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry have planned this year are the establishment of Akwaaba Hotels to boost tourism, the establishment of a Tourism TV channel to promote local tourism, the establishment of a Cocoa museum among others.