Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the special support package for members of the entertainment, culture and creative industries has now been increased to $50 million.
A sum of $40 million had previously been promised, but due to technical issues with the electronic portal for disbursement, members of the sectors were unable to access the funds.
“We have now migrated to a different platform and we’re in the final phase of developing an app that will allow more members of the entertainment, culture and creative industries to register to the e-Registry and apply for grants,” she said.
The Minister, who was making her contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 8), said she is still in dialogue with the Minister of Finance and the Public Service “to see how we can further increase funding for the sector, as the needs are many”.
Ms. Grange pointed out that despite the technical challenges that were experienced last year, the Government was still able to provide support for industry members, including the provision of grants to more than 700 practitioners through the COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme, as well as special grants from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
She added that the Ministry also provided $14 million for Jamaican creatives via direct sponsorship.
“We are also providing direct financial support in excess of $40 million to our athletes as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. So far, through the Institute of Sports, we have paid out a little over $16 million in monthly payments to 87 athletes under the Athletes Assistance Programme,” she said.
Ms. Grange said the Government also sought to address the mental well-being of athletes “to get them in the best frame of mind as they prepare for upcoming competitions”, noting that the Government worked closely with Optimisation Hub, which operates out of Australia, and with local mental health specialists, to develop a mental health programme for athletes, coaches and their support teams.
“We staged a successful online seminar, which was titled ‘Elevate the Game: Building the Muscle of the Mind’. [Through] this intervention, athletes, coaches and their support teams were given the skills to cope, and importantly, there will be a new programme related to mental health for coaches and athletes at the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport. The Ministry will subsidise this programme in the sum of $2.2 million,” she said.
Ms. Grange noted that her Ministry is also giving support to the sports sector through Independence Park Limited (IPL), which manages sports facilities at the National Stadium.
She said that IPL has been subsidising the cost of using these facilities by as much as 50 per cent and that the entity has supported the staging of several development meets organised by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) in the sum of $13.5 million.
“We will support the National Senior Championships in the sum of $12 million in direct funding, in addition to the subsidy for use of the facilities at the National Stadium… . We also assisted with the staging of Boys and Girls’ Champs this year and we are giving support to the National Premier League,” she noted.
“The Ministry is offering the Premier League Association a 50 per cent discount on rental of the Independence Park facilities…Premier League clubs were among the first to receive assistance in the early days of the pandemic when each club was granted $500,000 to help their situation,” the Minister said.