JIS News

The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is moving to provide protection for one of the island’s foremost indigenous music forms, reggae.

State Minister, Hon. Damion Crawford, said the Ministry is working with the Ministries of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Youth and Culture, and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), in preparing a Cabinet submission towards that objective.

Mr. Crawford, who was making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 2, said that reggae can be protected under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

He noted that this is similar to initiatives by Argentina and Uruguay in relation to “Tango”, which was in 2009, inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, on the basis that: “the Tango is a musical genre that includes dance, music, poetry and singing, and is considered one of the main manifestations of identity for the inhabitants of the Río de la Plata region”.

Mr. Crawford said UNESCO’s formal recognition of reggae as a traditional cultural expression and art form of Jamaica, would better enable Jamaica to maintain control over the definition, recognition and identification of the musical form.

“This would protect the reggae genre and have the effect of ensuring that more of the economic wealth, moral rights, trade mark and geographically-linked benefits, flowing from the use of, indication or designation reggae, would be retained in and with Jamaica,” he stated.

The State Minister further asserted that the recognition of reggae, as distinctly Jamaican, would attract funding towards the preservation and maintenance of traditional reggae art forms and practitioners.

There is also the potential to attract more investors as well as visitors to Jamaica who wish to pilgrim to the ‘Mecca’ of authentic reggae,” he said.

Contact: Alphea Saunders

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