Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says she is seeking to have more of the nation’s heritage sites become recognised locally and internationally, as this will accrue to the benefit of the communities in which they are situated.
“We currently have 250 National Heritage sites. I want to see more designations and greater development in the areas where the sites are located, so that our people may benefit economically and our contribution to national development may be duly recognised,” she said.
The Minister was speaking at the National Heritage Week Thanksgiving Church Service, held at the Fellowship Apostolic Church, Camp Road in Kingston on Sunday (October 14).
Ms. Grange pointed out that the country is grateful that the world “shows so much interest in us and that our places of interest can attract international accreditation,” noting that Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains were inscribed to the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July 2015.
“The inscription represents a first World Heritage Site for Jamaica and the first mixed cultural and natural site for the Caribbean sub-region, being one of only 32 mixed sites in the world,” she reminded.
Ms. Grange further informed that experts have visited the historical city of Port Royal, which is currently under review for inscription as a World Heritage site, and are due to make their recommendation shortly.
World Heritage status is given to natural and cultural sites across the globe considered to be of outstanding universal value, meaning sites which possess cultural and natural significance which is so exceptional, as to transcend national boundaries and are of common importance to present and future generations.
During the service, first and second scripture readings were done by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson who represented Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; and Member of Parliament for South East St. Andrew, Julian Robinson, who represented the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips.
Custos of St. Andrew, Hon. Dr. Patricia Dunwell, brought greetings on behalf of Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
The church service is among a series of activities being staged by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in celebration of National Heritage Week, which runs from October 8 to 15. Other religious services were held simultaneously in various parishes.
The Week is being commemorated under the theme: ‘One Love…One Family…One Heritage’.