Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, announced on April 4 that Cabinet has approved the revamped Jamaica 50 Programme, with activities set to unfold in the coming weeks.
“It is proposed that the campaign to kick off the celebratory period will begin in mid-April, highlighted by our Labour Day activities, which will see Jamaicans islandwide start preparing communities for the main celebratory period, August 1 to August 6”. Miss Hanna was speaking at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing.
She noted that the revamped programme, which is now budgeted at $688 million, had been submitted to Cabinet for deliberations with a view to “establishing a proper national scope for this significant milestone in our country’s history, as we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, while being mindful that we ensure that financing and budget parameters are in keeping with what the country can afford at this time."
Miss Hanna said it is expected that the celebratory and commemorative activities and events, which have already begun and which will take place here in Jamaica as well as in the Diaspora, will generate an unprecedented level of patriotic commitment that will unite the country towards a national effort to develop and grow the economy.
Meanwhile, Director of the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, Robert Bryan, said the revamped programme will see the private sector providing $194 million through sponsorship arrangements, and the public sector, close to $400 million, with $360 million of that sum going to the JCDC, which will provide a significant part of the programming.
Miss Hanna pointed out that on assessment of the previous programme, it was revealed that there were 43 activities listed, without an accompanying budget. Additionally none of the activity was core. She also said the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) had submitted activities costing $690 million, but only $50 million was allocated by the Government to fund them.
“In addition, international events at the London 2012 (Olympic Games), plus assumptions of travel to various Diaspora events, had no budgetary allocations and there was no financing plan presented. The programme as was then outlined was unwieldy, lacked focus, and essentially was generally a listing of projects, events and ideas falling under categories official and endorsed,” she noted.
The Minister said that while the programme was launched in October 2011, there was no marketing, advertising or promotion plan in place, and that the necessary trademarks, although registered in Jamaica, were unprotected in overseas markets. “Therefore, commercial arrangements remain vulnerable and untapped. Potential sponsors all felt the programme was not implementable and adopted a wait and see approach to it,” she told journalists.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter