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Pledge your support for literature

Caribbean Books Foundation wishes to see an increase in literary and literacy initiatives nationwide says founder Marsha Gomes-Mckie. We hope to make literature as attractive as music and fashion to the corporate sponsors as we request an addition to the Corporation Act (Finance Act) that relates to the Art and Culture Allowance.

Presently, when a company submits its Corporation Tax Return (Form 500 CTR), they must fill out the schedule re: the “Art and Culture, Sportsman, Sporting Activities/Audio, Visual or Video Production” and now “Fashion Promotion” and attach a copy of the corresponding certificate from the National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers. As identified in the Corporation Tax Act, companies benefit when they:
1. Purchase work directly from a visual artist.
2. Provide funding to performing artists registered with the Artist Registry.
3. Provide funding to producers of audio, visual and video productions whose work has been certified by the Minister with responsibility for Culture as representing local culture or entertainment.

Literature as a viable cultural output

Even though authors, poets and playwrights can be registered under the National Registry there is no such corresponding incentive to support their craft. We call on the Ministry of Culture to review the National registry regulations with a view to adding literature as a viable cultural output.
The benefit of including the industry in legislation is that it will:
1. Jumpstart the literary industry by putting authors on par with musicians and artists
2. Increase the number of books on the market that speak to Trinidad’s rich and diverse culture written by nationals
3. Encourage corporations to invest in purchasing local books to be distributed as promotional items or for other outreach campaigns
4. Encourage corporations to adopt a school library or establish a new literary programme
5. Promote our nation’s culture through literature, hereby increasing the national literacy standard

Support literature

Give literature a fighting chance by including an amendment to the Corporation Act that speaks directly to literature. We seek the assistance of literature organisations in moving this request forward by endorsing it and/or hosting stakeholder discussions toward its effective addition this year. Please contact Marsha Gomes-Mckie at marsha@caribbeanbooks.org to pledge your support.

June 2016 – Issue 22   www.sweettntmagazine.com

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