21 Aug 2019

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago 19 August 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed deep sadness at the passing of Jamaican musicologist and composer, Noel Dexter.

Minister Grange said:

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of another of Jamaica's icons in music - Noel Dexter. Mr Dexter's choral compositions were quintessentially Jamaican and Caribbean in flavour.

His impact as choir director of the University Singers is legendary. He leaves a great legacy in what he did to promote our culture and the many lives that he’s touched.

Noel Dexter’s passing has created a void in our musical landscape.

I offer sincerest condolences to his family and friends.”


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 7 August 2019 (JIS):  Two of the nation’s stalwarts, Alpharita Constantia “Rita” Marley, OD, and entertainer, Mr. Miguel Orlando Collins, also known as Sizzla Kalonji, have been honoured for their contribution to the development of the music industry by the Government of Jamaica.

Both were awarded with Reggae Icon Awards during the Jamaica 57 Independence Grand Gala, held at the National Stadium, on Tuesday (August 6).

Their awards were presented by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, and the President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta.

Prime Minister Holness said that Rita, widow of one of Jamaica’s pioneers of reggae, Bob Marley, was chosen for this award because of her contribution to the development of the foundation of reggae music, while Sizzla was awarded because he is one musician who has built on that foundation with positive music.

Sizzla, who gave the response on behalf of both awardees, said he is grateful to the Government and the nation, by extension, to recognise him for his contribution to nation building.

“I’m most honoured and most thankful in receiving such an award from such [a] noble nation, people and beautiful Government in the Western Hemisphere. It comes as a bit of [a] surprise,” Sizzla said.

Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, presents the Jamaican Reggae Icon Award to Sizzla on Independence Day at the Grand Gala at the National Stadium. Sharing the moment are His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta (second left); the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange (left); and the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, the Honourable Fayval Williams

Sizzla was born on April 17, 1976. He was raised in August Town where he still resides. He emerged on the reggae and dancehall scene in the late 1990s with hit singles, such as ‘Black Woman and Child’, ‘Thank you, Mama’, ‘Dry Cry’, ‘Just one of those days’ and ‘Solid as a rock’.

He is one of the most commercially and critically successful contemporary reggae artistes, noted for his high number of releases. As of 2018, Sizzla has released 56 albums.

Outside of the music industry, Sizzla has contributed to community development by establishing the Sizzla Youth Foundation which assists youth in August Town in overcoming their struggles and providing a haven from violence.

He also established ‘Judgment Yard’, by turning his August Town home into a Community Centre where he welcomes the community and organises community activities.

Rita was chosen for her award not only because she is the matriarch of the Marley family, but also because she has been a leading member of the Jamaican music industry from her early days as a singer, to her collaboration with Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths who formed the ‘I Threes’ – the former backing vocal group for Bob Marley and the Wailers.

She was also chosen because she has pioneered the development of reggae as a musical form and for contributing to its growth and popularity in Europe, Africa and around the world.

Rita, who was born in Cuba to Leroy Anderson and Cynthia Jarrett, grew up in Greenwich Town, Kingston. Her musical career began in the 1960s. In 1986, she converted Bob Marley’s home into the Bob Marley Museum, which is currently the number one tourist destination in Kingston. She is also the Founder and Chairperson of the Robert Marley Foundation and the Bob Marley Group of Companies.

In 1996, Rita was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government. In 2000, she created the Rita Marley Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works to alleviate poverty and hunger in Jamaica and other developing countries.

She received the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Award in 2010, and on August 3, 2013, she was made an Honorary Citizen of Ghana by the Ghanaian Government. In November 2015, she was awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree by the University of the West Indies.

On Tuesday, the Government also announced that Rita will be honoured with the fifth highest award in Jamaica, the Order of Jamaica (OJ), on Heroes Day in October.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 16 August 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, is leading Jamaica’s delegation to CARIFESTA which begins on Friday (today) in Trinidad and Tobago.

CARIFESTA — the Caribbean Festival of the Arts — is the largest cultural and artistic event to be staged in the Caribbean.

Minister Grange says CARIFESTA presents an opportunity for Jamaican creatives to market their products and services.

“This year, Jamaica is sending one of the biggest delegations ever to CARIFESTA — 168 people including artisans, fashion designers, writers and publishers, dance companies, theatre groups, and gospel performer Kevin Downswell,” said Minister Grange.

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has facilitated Jamaica’s participation in CARIFESTA 2019 through financial support of 73 performers in the delegation.

Minister Grange says it is important for the Ministry to help finance the delegation especially after the tremendous success of Jamaica’s delegation to the last CARIFESTA two years ago.

Minister Grange says:
“In 2017, Jamaica’s delegation to CARIFESTA in Barbados, which numbered approximately 50 members, benefitted tremendously from the business opportunities generated by their participation. I am pleased to demonstrate the full support of the Government again — as we did in 2017. We are the mecca of creativity and we are determined to monetise our creativity for larger income flows to practitioners, and facilitating the participation of Jamaican creatives in activities such as CARIFESTA helps us to achieve our objective.”
CARIFESTA XIV will be held from August 16 to 25 under the theme Connect, Share, Invest.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 13 August 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has announced the appointment of the National Council on Reparations for the period 29 July 2019 to 28 July 2022.

Minister Grange said the Council — which is within the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport — is tasked with formulating strategies to claim, secure and dispense reparations due to the people of Jamaica for the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The Council, chaired by Laleta Davis-Mattis, includes a diverse membership that possesses the requisite skills to advance the argument of Reparation for the people of Jamaica. The members are drawn from the Legal Fraternity, Academia, the Rastafari Community, Civil Society, the Church and the public sector.

The members are:
Mrs. Laleta Davis-Mattis (Chairperson)
Mr. Bert Samuels (Deputy Chairman)
Professor Verene Shepherd
Mr. Frank Phipps, QC
Lord Anthony Gifford, QC
Dr. Jahlani Niaah
Professor Rupert Lewis
Mr. Steven Golding
Dr. Michael Barnett
Professor Clinton Hutton
Mr. Donald Roberts, CD
Mr. Michael Holgate
Ras Lanceroy Ho-Shing
Mr. Vivian Crawford
Ms. Jo-Anne Archibald
Pastor Bruce A. Fletcher 
Reverend Stephen Jennings, PhD
Dr. Winsome Gordon
Ms. Lorraine Williams Tafari
Ms. Tamika Peart, PhD

The Council also advises the government on matters related to reparatory justice.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 9 August 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says that Jamaica and Kenya have agreed to cooperate in the fields of sports, culture and heritage.

Minister Grange says the agreement was finalised during the recent State Visit of the President of Kenya, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta.

Minister Grange signed the Memorandum of Understanding formalising the cooperation agreement with the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Ambassador Amina Mohamed.

Under the MOU, Jamaica and Kenya have agreed to cooperate in the organising of major sporting events in track and field, water sports, football, cycling, cricket, netball, boxing, tennis, golf, martial arts, basketball, rugby and any other discipline that both countries may mutually decide upon.

Minister Grange said:
“Jamaica is the sprint capital of the world and Kenya has a great reputation of producing some of the finest long-distance runners that we have ever known. I believe there is much that we can share not only in track and field, but in other sporting disciplines as well. And so we look forward to exchanges of coaches, administrators and physical education teachers; welcoming Kenyan athletes for training here in Jamaica among other initiatives which will benefit both of our countries.”

Jamaica and Kenya have also agreed to collaborate on sports science, the promotion of sports for people with special needs, and the implementation of anti-doping policies, procedures and practices within the World Anti-Doping Agency system.

Regarding culture and heritage, the areas of cooperation will include collaboration between the National Archives of both countries with a focus on digitisation and modernisation of the entities; cultural exchange in the cultural and creative industries; cooperation between the national museums in the field of heritage research, protection, conservation and management as well as exchange of experts.

Minister Grange said: We would wish to see visits of cultural and creative practitioners including musicians, dancers, actors, theatre groups and visual artists. And so we encourage the participation of our cultural and creative practitioners in festivals in both countries with a view to enhancing the strong cultural links between Jamaica and Kenya.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 7 August 2019 – The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport says that, “Fedrick Dacres continues Jamaica’s rise in men’s discus by breaking the record he set at the Pan Am Games in defending his title.”

“Fedrick has been enjoying a fantastic run of throwing over these past several months as he followed up his gold medal performance at the Commonwealth Games last year with this record at the Pan Am Games.

“It was good that Traves Smikle took the silver, making it a Jamaica one-two in the men’s discus at the Pan Am Games, the same as it was at the Commonwealth Games.

“Wonderful too that Elaine Thompson won gold, continuing the form she has been enjoying in the short sprint and that this was complemented by Natoya Goule copping the gold medal in the women’s 800 meters.”

The Sport Minister also commended Tajay Gayle for his silver medal in the men’s long jump and Tissanna Hickling for her bronze medal in the women’s long jump.

“Wonderful. Altogether, these have added tremendously to our Independence celebrations”, Miss Grange said.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 2 August 2019 – The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has congratulated Yona Knight Wisdom for creating history for Jamaica by winning the country’s first ever medal in the sport of diving at the Pan Am Games.

Knight Wisdom won silver in the men's 1M Springboard competition at the Games in Lima, Peru, yesterday, August 1.

Minister Grange said, “Once again, Jamaica has much to celebrate in sport and our achievements outside of track and field continues to be encouraging.

“Yona himself said his silver medal was a fitting gift for Jamaica on Emancipation Day and on behalf of the nation I wish to thank him for his historic performance.
“Let us wish him further success as he competes in the 3M Springboard tomorrow, August 3, where a victory would earn him automatic qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” the Sport Minister concluded.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 27 July 2019 - Raldene ‘Loaded Eagle’ Dyer’ is the 2019 Jamaica Festival Song Winner.

His winning song, Big Up Jamaica, will become the soundtrack for Jamaica’s 57th Anniversary of Independence, which is being celebrated under the theme One Nation, One People.

Dyer took home the coveted title at the 2019 Jamaica Festival Song Competition’s free Grand Final concert which was held on Saturday at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston.

In addition to winning the competition and its respective $1 million cash award, Dyer, took home the award for Writer of the Winning Song, which also carried $1 million cash award, as well as the sectional prizes for Best Performance and Best Vocalist, which carry a cash award of $300 000 each.

Second place in the competition and its respective cash award of $400 000 went to Alero ‘Alley Bless’ Perrier with Her song Queen Jamaica.

While third place and it’s respective cash award of $250 000 went to Jerome ‘Jay Smith’ Smith for his song Embassy Appointment, which also saw him receiving the sectional award for Most Popular on Social Media, and its respective cash award of $300 000.

Beginning at 8:00 pm, the Grand Final concert saw all 11 of the competition’s finalists going head to head in a battle of performances.

The other finalists who competed for the title were: Edwin Meyers with Piece A Jamaica, Jason ‘Iya Concord’ Wright with Hero Fight; Percival “Dharma” Lord with A Jamaica We Love; Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God Choir with Jamaica Bless; Nickoy ‘Shawn-D’ Green with Sweet Jamaica; Nester ‘Humility’ Chung with Battlefield; Vernon ‘Ramize’ Smith with Jamaica Fi Life; and Meckedah ‘McKada’ Henry with Love for Jamaica.


Raldene ‘Loaded Eagle’ Dyer
Reggae and Dancehall artiste Raldene ‘Loaded Eagle’ Dyer became interested in the music industry younger than most. Born in Steer Town, St. Ann, Dyer’s love for music first sparked when he witnessed his mother singing on the church choir. Now an energetic performer, Dyer is a seasoned artiste in the dancehall arena as both vocalist and professional dancer. In 1998, Dyer, then a member of Cosby Kids, entered the JCDC Performing Arts National Finals in the area of Dance, placing first in their class. Loaded Eagle began his solo recording career in 2005 with “Nowadays” a local hit that won him much notoriety in St. Ann. He is currently collaborating with producer Lenworth “Jupiter Phillips” Phillpots, with whom he teamed up for his festival song entry “Big Up Jamaica”.

A signature programme of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), an Agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Jamaica Festival Song Competition started in 1966, and continues to serve as a musical platform for cultural exposition and for entrants to make an indelible mark on Jamaica and the world. The competition boasts past winners like Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Decker, Eric Donaldson, Roy Rayon, Heather Grant and Stanley Beckford.

The 2019 Jamaica Festival Song Competition is sponsored by Tastee, Geoland, Lasco Money, JF MILLS, Shirley Biscuits, Shades of Africa, and Jamaica Corporate Credit Union League (JCCUL).

21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 24 July 2019 (JIS): Jamaica is to celebrate the centenary of Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) over a period of 100 days, with special activities across the country.

These will be organised by various agencies, including the National Library of Jamaica, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the Bureau of Gender Affairs.

This was disclosed by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, during her contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 23.

“This year, on September 7, we will celebrate the centenary of our beloved Miss Lou. [She] will be celebrated as social commentator, poet and advocate, and in particular, as chief exponent and proponent of the Jamaican language,” Ms. Grange said.

She also noted that in a tribute to Miss Lou, the Ministry has engaged the University of the West Indies to use the celebration of her life as the catalyst of a national dialogue on the status of the Jamaican patois.

“This will have implication for how patois is positioned in social and official discourse,” Ms. Grange said.

Additionally, the Minister announced that March 21 is to be celebrated each year as National Poetry Day.

She also thanked Jamaica’s National Poet Laureate, Dr. Lorna Goodison, for her work in the promotion of poetry.


21 Aug 2019

Kingston, 18 July 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed deep sadness at the passing of the Jamaican singer Pat Kelly.

Minister’s Statement follows:

“I feel a deep sense of personal loss at the passing of Pat Kelly. He and I go back a long way to our days at Chocomo Lawn, a place where so many of our artistes and musicians got their start, thanks to Edward Seaga.

I was the president of the Victor’s Youth Club at Chocomo Lawn and Pat was a member. It was there that he began developing his talent which has seen him become a great Jamaican singer and outstanding audio engineer.

I have been very proud of his success with The Techniques and in his solo career; and satisfied with his contribution to our music.

I offer sincerest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this time.”


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