Kingston, October 1 – The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, has expanded its Economic Opportunities Workshop series to the maroon community of Accompong, St Elizabeth.
The Economic Opportunities Workshops series has been providing entrepreneurial training and other types of support to enable people living in or close to cultural communities to earn from their cultural assets.
Speaking to a large group of participants at the most recent Workshop in Accompong, Minister Grange said history will recall that the leaders of the community “changed the course of history.”
The Minster said the Accompong celebrations on the 6th of January each year attract people from across Jamaica, the African Diaspora and across the world and that the community had “a unique cultural good which has economic potential to change the course of the community, the parish and the country.”
According to Minister Grange, the aim of the Economic Opportunities Workshop series was to “explore ways in which the unique, authentic and powerful culture and heritage of Accompong can bring prosperity to all of you.”
Minister Grange said that more people are travelling to Jamaica now than at any other time and many of the visitors are travelling to experience the authentic culture of the people. She said there would be more opportunities for the people of Accompong to exploit if Jamaica is successful in its bid to have sections of the Cockpit Country declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“World Heritage designation will bring more visitors to this area. So we are here today getting ready for it and we have to ensure that your skills are sharpened and that we prepare you for the opportunities that come with such a designation,”
Minister Grange said.
Minister Grange announced that residents of Accompong were eligible for grants from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport totalling J$1M to improve or start businesses.
She also announced that the Tourism Product Development Company would train 20 residents of Accompong under the Team Jamaica and Tour Guide training programmes.
More than 400 people living in or close to the Blue and John Crow Mountains World Heritage Site in the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas and St. Andrew have benefitted from previous Economic Opportunities Workshops to strengthen and grow their businesses.
Partners include: the Jamaica National Funded Social Enterprise Boost Initiative, FHI 360, the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Product Development Company, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, the Rural Agricultural Development Fund, the Scientific Research Council, HEART Trust/NTA, NCTVET and the University of the West Indies, among other stakeholders.