Ministry Promotes Culture as a Business

Jamaica News: The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is embarking on a programme of deliberate promotion of the business of culture, the arts and the creative economy.

This was disclosed by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, during her contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 3.

In this regard, the Ministry staged the National Conference of Culture Clubs, which was aimed at fostering greater awareness of the economic value of creativity, the centrality of the creative economy to the national economy and the importance of careers in the creative sector.

“We have to address the bias in the promotion of careers to young people. It is good and valuable to be a doctor, lawyer, and engineer. It is equally good and valuable to be a creative professional, a sportsperson, gender activist or archaeologist,” Ms. Grange noted.

Meanwhile, the Minister also informed the House of an archaeological find at White Marl, St. Catherine.

She said an archaeological team, led by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), unearthed three whole skeletons, four zemis, ceramic earthenware pottery sherds and tools.

“The area now known as White Marl has long been considered to be one of the most important prehistoric sites in Jamaica. Research indicates that the area was occupied for more than 600 years (between 900 and 1500 AD) by the first Jamaicans – the Taínos,” Ms. Grange said.

She noted that this significant find adds to the understanding of and confirms beliefs about the Taínos.

“For instance, two of the skeletons were found with bowls. We think the bowls were filled with food and buried with the deceased as part of the Taíno tradition, aimed at sustaining the spirit in the afterlife. The shells found at the site give us an idea of the diet of the Taínos, which included conch, clams, oyster and land snails,” Ms. Grange informed.

“The unusual burial positions are shedding new light on Taíno belief systems and customs. The priceless zemis and other treasures found during this excavation belong to the Jamaican people and must be preserved and protected for future generations,” she added.

In that regard, Ms Grange said the Ministry is working to repatriate treasures that belong to Jamaica that are in foreign countries.

She said that as part of the plan to protect and repatriate, the Ministry has begun preparatory work towards Jamaica’s ratification of two international conventions to deal with the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage.

The international conventions are the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property; and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.

Additionally, the Ministry is proposing amendments to the JNHT Act, as the existing legislative regime does not address trade in cultural material… and all cultural material are not protected under the JNHT Act.


Source: JIS News

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