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UNESCO Examining Jamaica’s Reggae Submission

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (right), is in light conversation with Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, at the launch of 2019 Carnival in Jamaica, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on October 23.


The Government will know in November whether it has been successful in its efforts to have reggae music inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List.

Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, said that UNESCO technical experts are in the process of examining Jamaica’s reggae submission.

“We are awaiting the results and it will be a major achievement for Jamaica if we are successful in having the designation declared by UNESCO,” she said.

Ms. Grange was speaking to JIS News at a joint press conference, involving the Tourism Ministry, to launch the 2019 Carnival in Jamaica, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on October 23.

Ms. Grange said her Ministry has been tasked to establish an inventory of intangible heritage unique to Jamaica, “which is also one of the criteria” required by UNESCO.

Turning to the designation of certain areas across the island as entertainment zones, the Minister informed that a list of locations will be available soon, which will include Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine in the initial stages.

Meanwhile, Ms. Grange noted that the collaboration between the Ministries for the staging of carnival “is essential if we are to create a more authentic tourism experience”.

She expressed satisfaction at the way “this entertainment product” has been evolving and attributed it to the “seamless fusion of dancehall and calypso/soca in parties and the road parades”.

The Entertainment Minister welcomed the introduction of the new carnival band Rebellion, which has been added alongside others such as Xaymaca International and Exodus, to name a few.

“This is an indication that more event producers here in Jamaica are adding the unique Jamaican flavour to what has been traditional in carnival,” she said.

Ms. Grange added that the increase in bands represents the establishment of a value chain, complete with designers, tailors and seamstresses making body wear and artisans bending wires and producing beautiful feathers.

“Carnival season is, therefore, alive with activities and provides economic activity for micro to large entrepreneurs,” she noted.

In his remarks, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that he wants to “build out Carnival in Jamaica to make it more remarkable for both visitors and locals”.

“This is in keeping with strategic steps that we are undertaking at my Ministry to strengthen Jamaica’s competitiveness as an entertainment destination as we reposition and diversify our product and generate high growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings,” he pointed out.

Mr. Bartlett noted that the Sports and Entertainment Network of the Tourism Ministry’s Linkages Network has identified products to market Jamaica as an entertainment destination.

Deputy Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), Councillor, Winston Ennis, who was in attendance, said Jamaica must own as much of the carnival parade as possible, and pledged the continued support of the KSAMC for Carnival in Jamaica.

During the event, the Carnival in Jamaica website was also launched to give locals and visitors a guide to event happenings and hotel bookings, among other things.

Source: JIS

Photo: Adrian Walker

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