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  • The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) on Tuesday, June 23, unveiled its Culture Passport, which will allow holders to access key cultural and heritage sites across Jamaica.
  • Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, noted that the project is aimed at helping the country’s youth to understand their identity and what it means to be uniquely Jamaican.
  • Ms. Hanna said at least 40 young persons within all cultural clubs will receive the document, which will also allow holders to attend cultural events, some at a reduced cost.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) on Tuesday, June 23, unveiled its Culture Passport, which will allow holders to access key cultural and heritage sites across Jamaica.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the inaugural National Culture Clubs Conference, held at the Rex Nettleford Multi-Purpose Centre, at the University of the West Indies, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, noted that the project is aimed at helping the country’s youth to understand their identity and what it means to be uniquely Jamaican.

“Your passport gives you free access to visit all the cultural sites,” Ms. Hanna said, and informed that at least 40 young persons within all cultural clubs will receive the document, which will also allow holders to attend cultural events, some at a reduced cost.

The official launch of the Culture Passport follows a pilot programme, which was introduced in 2013 in three Corporate Area schools with 100 participants. Four years prior to that, the JCDC established the Culture Clubs programme in schools across the island in an effort to preserve Jamaica’s rich cultural heritage. The programme aims at building a greater sense of patriotism and civic pride among young people and sustaining the development of the arts in Jamaica.

Pointing out that the initiative is a means of building self-esteem, the Minister emphasised that appreciation of culture must go beyond performances.

“We want to take it to a point where the Jamaican identity and the Jamaican philosophy become so entrenched in the movement and purpose of our young people, that when we compete, people see that it is not only about Jamaica in name. It is about Jamaica and our purpose, a revolutionary movement in our young people that they can accept that nowhere ‘nuh better than yard’,” Ms. Hanna said.

She pointed out that Jamaica has a rich cultural heritage, which has accorded it with international recognition and acclaim. Being a citizen of Jamaica should be a source of pride, as the country and its people are admired all over the world for the country’s heritage and achievements, the Minister added.

“The Jamaican culture has really put us on the map. It really has made us the kind of people who we are. From the days of Nanny coming up to our heroes (including) Marcus Garvey, and our politics…we are a strong and confident people,” Ms. Hanna said.

For her part, Director, Community Cultural Services, JCDC, Marjorie Leyden-Vernon, highlighted the ideals of the agency’s culture clubs programme – “to engender a greater sense of patriotism and civic pride; develop respect for Jamaica’s national symbols and emblems; create greater awareness and appreciation for our cultural heritage; and help develop and preserve the arts and what truly makes us Jamaicans.”

The conference was hosted under the theme: ‘Love of Self; Respect for Country’.