The programme will now include community-based organisations, churches, senior citizens, Associations, people with disabilities and other special interests groups.
Speaking at the signing of an agreement between the Ministry and the CHASE Fund for the production of 50,000 Culture Passports, Miss Grange said it was a new beginning for the Culture Passport programme. “It will allow for more Jamaicans being able to access a growing number of sites, cultural institutions such as museums and galleries, as well as cultural events. In a phrase, we are offering a passport to diverse cultural experiences!”
Miss Grange said, “In 2015, we established a partnership with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission to implement the programme through its Culture Clubs now functioning in over 200 schools across the island.”
She said more partnerships were also being engaged to strengthen the programme. “The CHASE Fund is one of our new partners having approved funding for the Ministry to expand the programme. Thanks to CHASE in this school year we will be producing and distributing 25,000 passports. Another 25,000 will be distributed during the 2018-2019 Financial Year.”
The Minister pointed to a re-designed Culture Passport which outlines the privileges of being a passport holder and the heritage sites, cultural institutions and events at which holders can utilize their Passport.
“There are over a dozen sites and institutions between JNHT and IOJ alone to include the Natural History Museum, Jamaica Music Museum, National Museum of Jamaica, and Port Royal Heritage District.”
The Devon House Heritage Site at which the signing was held is a partner in the programme which also includes the Moore Town Maroon Community and the Accompong Maroon Community.
The Minister said more locations, monuments and places of interest will constantly be added to the list of venues as the overall aim is to ensure that Culture Passport holders are given a truly diverse and representative experience of Jamaican heritage.
“The programme is inviting Jamaicans from an early age to become “dry lan’ tourists” in our own country. The same heritage we invite visitors from abroad to experience, must be so familiar to us that we can be ‘tour guides’.
Minister Grange said there was also a move on to get the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to further solidify the programme in schools, because there had been requests to make the Passport programme mandatory to support research work.
The Culture Passport enables holders to visit heritage sites at no cost or very little cost to them.
The agreement was signed by Minister Grange, Mr Billy Heaven, Executive Director of the CHASE Fund and Mr Orville Hill, Interim Executive Director of the JCDC.