Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, has lauded the reggae fraternity for the continued dedication to the music in spite of the challenges caused by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She praised practitioners for using various platforms “to make a decent living and to sustain the music’s power across the globe”.
“Collectively, they have ensured that the world benefits from Jamaican’s most penetrating export and brand,” she noted.
“It’s difficult times for those who would tour and difficult times for those who would stage events… very difficult, but first and foremost we want you to be safe. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” she added.
Ms. Grange was speaking at a Reggae Month Church Service held on Sunday (January 31) at the Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston.
The service was the first activity for Reggae Month 2021 (February), being observed under the theme ‘Come Ketch de Riddim Virtually’. The event was aired on local television stations and streamed live on social media platforms.
Minister Grange commended the many organisations and associations that have continued “to stand up for the music”, mentioning the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA), the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliates Union and the Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP).
“We give thanks for your loyalty and dedication. We acknowledge the role you continue to play in ensuring that the music and its practitioners continue to create,” she said.
“I know the challenges have been great and, as such, I want to pay respect to the organisations and associations that have been at the forefront of negotiations and production,” she added.
Minister Grange said that various platforms will be used during Reggae Month to engage practitioners and consumers and “to bring them together”.
“This is to ensure that when we open fully and that will happen in combination of virtual and in-person forms, the rollout will be stronger and better, reflecting the resilience and prowess of the Jamaican people,” she pointed out.
The Minister urged practitioners to attend the virtual workshops and participate in the discussions that will be held.
The service was attended by the Director, Tourism Linkages Network, Carolyn McDonald Riley, who represented the Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett.
Pastor of the Fellowship Tabernacle, Rev. Al Miller, delivered his sermon on the topic – ‘Reggae – a tool for transformation or damnation?’.