It is 2017 and yet I am compelled to admit that in spite of tremendous
global acceptance, certain aspects of our culture — the things that make us uniquely
Jamaican — are still fighting for appropriate recognition, acceptance and support right
here at home. It is rooted in a lack of appreciation and respect for the value of the
culture and creative industries and their contribution to national development.
I think the word ‘value’ is at the heart of the challenges that my Ministry is facing as it
tries to implement its programmes. Do we value what our people create? Do we see
value in the way of life and identity of our people? Do we really understand the
economic value of Boys’ and Girls’ Champs or the annual Independence Grand Gala or
Fun in the Son, Rebel Salute, Reggae Sumfest or Dream Weekend?
It is estimated that the culture and creative industries contribute at least 5 per cent of
GDP and generate between US$15M and US$20M in revenue each year. Tourism is
said to contribute 7 per cent of GDP yet tourism’s main inputs are precisely these areas
I mentioned earlier: namely culture and entertainment to include sport.
You can appreciate therefore that much is anchored in the revised Policy, titled National
Policy on Culture and Creative Economy of Jamaica 2017-2027. The document will
provide a framework for creative and cultural goods and services to become major
contributors to the transformation of the Jamaican economy. We are shaping a
framework that facilitates economic growth and development through positive
adjustments to existing GDP and supports the creation of new jobs and wealth creation
The focus of this Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in this financial
year will be on making innovative investments, taking a data- centric approach to
entertainment and creative industries development and preparing the framework to
increase the contribution to GDP of the sectors we represent.
Jamaica’s superpower status in global culture, entertainment and sport
didn’t just happen. It is the result of blood, sweat and tears of our creative industry
It is also the significant investment in these areas with the building out of infrastructure,
the establishment of institutions and the development of programmes.
GoJ spending on culture, entertainment and sport from 2008 to 2016 has been in
excess of 20 billion dollars. This was not a hand out. It is an investment, which has
yielded good returns.
The spend in this financial year must be seen as an investment towards
sustainable economic development not just in these sectors but indeed for the future of
So even as we attempt to double the contribution of these sectors to GDP, we are acutely
aware that our cultural assets and activities have intrinsic worth beyond their capacity to turn a dollar.
This worth is expressed in historical value, social value, symbolic value, aesthetic value and spiritual value,
improving our quality of life by helping to create a more peaceful, cohesive, healthier, and happier nation.