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  • Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Ambassador Janet Olisa, is urging Jamaica to take steps to accelerate the preservation of its cultural heritage and to protect itself from cultural erosion.
  • Ambassador Olisa acknowledged Jamaica’s policies for protection, preservation and development of its natural, cultural and built heritage through a series of laws, in addition to entities dedicated to such work.
  • According to the Ambassador, development of Jamaica's outstanding cultural heritage assets is key to sustainable development, as it ensures that the product will be a reflection of the culture and aspiration of the Jamaican people.

Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Ambassador Janet Olisa, is urging Jamaica to take steps to accelerate the preservation of its cultural heritage and to protect itself from cultural erosion.

“It is imperative and absolutely a matter of national necessity for Jamaica to preserve its cultural heritage… through technology and integration, which are fundamental and basic in our present age and time,” she said.

She was speaking at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Culture Clubs of Jamaica’s Eastern Region Consultation 2018, held on Thursday (November 29) at the University of Technology (UTech) campus, St. Andrew.

Ambassador Olisa, who spoke on the topic: ‘Preserving Jamaica’s Cultural Heritage through Technology and Cultural Integration,’ said the adoption of digital technology in non-western cultures, such as Jamaica and African countries, contributes to the erosion of local cultural values and practice.

“Cultural degeneration, in turn, leads to loss of identity and pride among young people, destroying their focus and productivity and ultimately retarding social progress,” she emphasised.

Ambassador Olisa advised that the answer does not lie in restricting access to gadgets, the Internet and media content in a bid to preserve culture.  On the contrary, “providing access to more local content is key to keeping people in touch with their roots”, she argued.

“Thankfully, technology has evolved to a state where there are so many tools easily available to create the software, graphics, websites, music, video that will teach society, transmit aspects of the culture to be used in particular,  and, indeed, (enable people) to share their identity with everyone in a global village,” she noted further.

Ambassador Olisa acknowledged Jamaica’s policies for protection, preservation and development of its natural, cultural and built heritage through a series of laws, in addition to entities dedicated to such work.

She noted, however, the need to address the lack of resources; involve people in the development and management of assets; and implementation of the legislative framework for the protection of the environment, the built heritage, and promotion of Jamaica’s culture.

She said that although. historically, the cultural heritage of Jamaica is deeply rooted in its African origin, over time, there has been disengagement because of the effects of western culture, resulting in much ignorance about Africa.

“Unfortunately, over the centuries, the cultural heritage has become eroded, principally due to the geographical proximity of Jamaica to the western world. Technology further increased the divide and extended the alienation of Jamaica from its African roots,” she argued.

According to the Ambassador, development of Jamaica’s outstanding cultural heritage assets is key to sustainable development, as it ensures that the product will be a reflection of the culture and aspiration of the Jamaican people.