Jamaica to Prevent Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange (centre) and Principal Director in the Ministry, Dr. Janice Lindsay (second left), examine a document during a workshop on Jamaica’s accession to two United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Conventions to prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property, held at The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in Kingston, on March 20. Others (from left) are Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO Kingston Office of the Caribbean, Yuri Peshkov; Director and Representative of the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean in Kingston, Katherine Grigsby; and Secretary General for the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, Everton Hannam.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is seeking accession to two United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Conventions to prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
  • Minister with responsibility for Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the conventions are essential in protecting Jamaica’s physical cultural heritage.
  • Meanwhile, Director of World Heritage and Cultural Conventions in the Ministry, Debra Kay Palmer, told JIS News that the workshops will serve to guide the process of Jamaica’s ratification of both conventions within the 2018/19 financial year.

The Government is seeking accession to two United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Conventions to prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property.

These are the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970), and the UN International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995).

Minister with responsibility for Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says the conventions are essential in protecting Jamaica’s physical cultural heritage.

Speaking at the opening of the first in a series of workshops to sensitize stakeholders on the process of accession, on March 20 at The Courtleigh Hotel, in Kingston, Miss Grange said it is critical that key stakeholders, including customs agents, members of the security forces, cultural regulators and practitioners, as well as collectors, “are engaged in efforts to protect Jamaica’s material cultural heritage, both inside and outside of our borders”.

Meanwhile, Director of World Heritage and Cultural Conventions in the Ministry, Debra Kay Palmer, told JIS News that the workshops will serve to guide the process of Jamaica’s ratification of both conventions within the 2018/19 financial year.

“Jamaica is seeking to position ourselves in such a way that we are able to protect our objects from being taken by Jamaicans locally and sold beyond our borders as well as to become part of that network of parties that are protecting the world’s heritage,” the Director said.

Among the topics at the two-day workshop are the return and restitution of cultural objects/property; process of ratification for countries; looting and defacing of archaeological sites and loss of cultural objects; trafficking of cultural objects locally and across national borders; national heritage laws and the potential for implementing conventions.

Target stakeholders include Jamaica Customs Agency, Trade Board Limited, Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), National Intelligence Bureau, museums and culture agencies as well as residents of cultural communities.

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