Minister Grange also expressed her commitment to positioning Jamaica as a major global player in the creative economy. This, she says, will be done through maximising the benefits associated with the Blue and John Crow Mountains, the Caribbean’s first mixed World Heritage site.
As Jamaica joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Heritage Day, under the theme, ‘Heritage of Sports,’ Minister Grange told her audience that “the sign we are unveiling this morning, symbolises what happens when a country, particularly a Small Island Developing State, positions itself within the global sphere. It has long been established that we must be able to compete competitively in the international marketplace if we are to make significant and sustainable strides in culture, and the creative industries.”
Minister Grange added, “I am committed to doing all that is necessary to position Jamaica as a major global player in the creative economy.” She noted that Jamaica has given yet another first, in that, the Blue and John Crow Mountains Heritage Site is the Caribbean’s first mixed World Heritage site.
In an effort to showcase how the country and those living in and around the site can benefit, the Minister highlighted ways in which the inscription of the Blue and John Crow Mountains can be capitalised upon, noting the connection it has with Jamaica’s tourism product and how it can be an added marketing tool for the industry.
“I know my colleague, Tourism Minister [Ed] Bartlett is happy because this inscription has given to his team another one of a kind Jamaican tourism experience to market to another special interest tourism group. I refer him to the purposeful cultural tourist, the adventure tourist, the tourist with an interest in nature and even the avid and professional researcher of endemic species linked to the site’s natural habitat and the revered Maroon practices that remain a vital part of the cultural heritage of the site,” said Minister Grange.
The Minister also expressed that there are a number of untapped opportunities linked to the Blue and John Crow Mountains and envisions the site giving young entrepreneurs the chance to showcase their skills and to responsibly exploit their culture.
“Next month the Ministry will host the first in a series of ‘World Heritage Economic Opportunities Workshops and Fairs'. Entities such as: Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Heart Trust/NTA, Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO), Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and others will engage residents from these communities on how to monetise the cultural assets that are a part of their family and community heritage….at all times ensuring that the world heritage is not compromised. The possibilities are endless and we want to facilitate Partnership for Prosperity,” the Minister said.
Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Holness, whose constituency occupies part of the Blue and John Crow Mountains, gave brief remarks at the unveiling and noted that she too looks forward to seeing community members reaping economic gains from the World Heritage Site.
The Ministry will erect two other signs, one in Bath, St. Thomas and the other in Port Antonio, Portland. They will represent the other two major gateways to Jamaica’s first World Heritage site. The Blue and John Crow Mountains was inscribed to the UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List on July 3, 2015.