KINGSTON, Feb. 21 (JIS):
The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is working on building a framework for Kingston to fully operate as a musical economic zone.
This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, during a reggae month reception on the lawns of Jamaica House on February 20.
“Having received the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) designation, we must now translate that into greater tangibles for our people,” she said.
Kingston was one of 47 new locales added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in December 2015.
Ms. Grange argued that reggae is the strongest component of brand Jamaica. “Reggae is hot commodity and the world has embraced it, but we are proud to declare that we still own it... (and) the celebration of Reggae Month is a symbolic mark of respect for the eight genres we have given to the world,” she noted.
Ms. Grange said that the importance of reggae music to Jamaica should never be undervalued, adding that “it is the lifeblood”.
“When we look at the role that reggae music has played… the anthropological role in the development of Jamaica as a nation, its role in the transformation of the lives of many young people, its role in the struggle for human rights and freedoms in places like Zimbabwe and South Africa, we must hail and respect our music and the sounds of Jamaica,” she said.
In the meantime, she informed that plans are under way to build a world-class concert hall in Kingston.
“We want to see more global superstars coming back to Jamaica to perform. We want to see a thriving entertainment industry where all the stakeholders can have a livelihood and the production line can continue well beyond our time,” she said.
The reception, which was hosted by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is expected to become a yearly event on the calendar of activities for Reggae Month in February.
The function, which featured musical tributes and dance performances, was attended by members of the musical fraternity, including artistes, producers and promoters, members of the Government and the wider society.
The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has identified Reggae music as Jamaica’s most valuable yet undervalued export.