Gov’t Looking at Registration System for Artistes

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, addresses a public consultation on May 15 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston. Listening are: Chairman, Entertainment Advisory Board, Kingsley Cooper (second right); and Senior Director in charge of Entertainment in the Ministry, Gillian Wilkinson McDaniel.

The Government is exploring the possibility of establishing an entertainment/creative industries registry as part of efforts to build the industry while ensuring that stakeholders reap the benefits.

This was disclosed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, during a public consultation at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston on May 15.

Mr. Crawford said 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 (EPA) as it relates to European travel and the freedom of movement also called for a registry,” he said.

Mr. Crawford said the registry will also enable enlisted artistes and other creative persons to receive benefits from the Government as it relates to their tools of trade.

“We would be able to calculate what the expenses are and what we can give, know who they are and also be able to control who benefits,” he stated, noting that it will also facilitate greater exposure on the international level, while making it easier for artistes to be contacted.

The State Minister said that while all the details have not yet been finalised a minimal fee will have to be charged for registration. He noted that information garnered from the consultation and others to be held across the island, would help to “fine tune” the process going forward.

The State Minister said while the current focus is being placed on entertainers, all other players within the industry will also be targeted to come on board over time. He dismissed concerns that the register will be used to tax persons.

The meeting was attended by Ministry officials, members of the entertainment and music industry, among other stakeholders.

Most of the participants were in favour of the establishment of a registry, as they feel that once benefits can be gained, they would fully support the initiative.

The consultation was a joint effort between the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of National Security.

Other issues covered were: the introduction of a six-person parish appellate committee to review time extension on permits for entertainment events and hear appeals for events denied police permits; and the imposition of an event rating system for these activities.

Contact: Chris Patterson

JIS Social