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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Registry will certify and register local entertainment practitioners
  • Artistes to benefit from tax waivers
  • The registry will provide for the free movement across the region

The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is moving ahead with plans to establish an Entertainment Registry, on September 1, 2013.

The Registry will certify and register local entertainment practitioners and will be maintained by the Ministry.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Portfolio State Minister, Hon. Damion Crawford, says the registry will provide an information hub for the delivery and administration of processes necessary for a sustainable entertainment industry.

“It is a very important move in allowing for freedom of movement, but also extremely important for tools of trade for artistes to benefit from tax waivers on certain different things that assist them in plying their trade,” Mr. Crawford notes.

During his Sectoral Debate presentation in the House on  June 3, 2013, Mr. Crawford explained that when operational, the registry will provide a central portal for listing Jamaican entertainment services and companies, including their key profile and contact information; legitimise the entertainment industry for greater economic benefit; facilitate efficiency and transparency within the entertainment industry; and provide for the free movement of creative skills internationally and across the region.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is also helping us with that to ensure that the registry reflects clearly what we want and how we want our people to be treated, for example at the embassy,” he adds.

The State Minister says discussions are also underway with the Finance Ministry regarding tax waivers that will be granted to artistes.

Mr. Crawford, who first announced the move to establish the registry, at a public consultation in Kingston in May, explained at the time that the registry will assist artistes when they apply for work permits and visas for overseas engagements.

“We have heard many complaints of artistes not being able to travel and perform and our research shows that if they were actually listed as professionals (they would be looked at favourably). Persons were saying ‘how do we know that this person is an artiste?’ We have looked at the Economic Partnership Agreement as it relates to European travel, and the freedom of movement also calls for a registry,” he explains.

Meanwhile, come September 1, promoters of entertainment events will also be required to have their events rated.

Mr. Crawford says the events will be rated based on a matrix provided, indicating what utterances, actions and types of activities can be promoted at these events. He adds that the move will prove beneficial on several levels.

“The benefits will be multifaceted. There will be more sponsors willing to participate as they would know the output and outcome and therefore less risk associated with applying and attaching their brand with certain events. Also, it will help to protect the consumers from undue exposure to things that, for example, children should not be exposed to, or adults don’t want to be exposed to,” the State Minister explains.

He also points out that the initiative will protect artistes, as it will allow them to use whatever type of expression they want, based on the rating ascribed to the event being held.

“There will be ratings starting from ‘G’, ‘PG16’, ‘A18’, ‘R’ and ‘PG’, and each of them will have that matrix which the artiste will be able to look at and know what should not be included,” Mr. Crawford says.

“So, for example, utterances and references to violence cannot be in a G rating, but it can be in a ‘PG’ rating. So, there are different things in the matrix. The matrix will be on the application forms, so artistes and promoters will have full knowledge to then decide their ratings,” he tells JIS News.

Promoters who breach the terms of the rating agreed on will lose points from their licences and will eventually be unable to have further promotions.

Consultations were held with the public and the necessary stakeholders before the implementation of the various initiatives.