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Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, has said her Ministry plans to undertake an inventory to determine aspects of Jamaica’s cultural and historical heritage which can be exploited to yield benefits to the country.
Speaking at the recent handing over of audio-visual equipment, valued at $5 million, to the Jamaica Archives and Records Division (JARD), Miss Grange noted the agency’s responsibility as custodian of the nation’s cultural and historical data, pointing to its pivotal role in preserving Jamaica’s memoirs for succeeding generations.
“We intend to do a rights inventory, where we can determine what we can exploit, what we can upload on the internet and what the public and the world will be able to access and, of course, (for them) to pay for accessing all of that material,” she stated.
The Minister pointed out that through its programmes, JARD was assisting Jamaicans far and wide to understand their heritage, as well as how to capitalise on things which enhance the quality of life.
She described JARD as a “cornerstone” of the information knowledge-based society which the country is seeking to build, which will help to shape its identity by facilitating access to and encouraging the use of its collections.
“So we really have to hold on to what is ours, and make sure that we get what is due to us,” she contended.
She said that JARD is empowered, within the legal framework, to enter public entities to examine and transfer official records, except where statutes forbid such action. She explained that JARD can advise those entities on measures pertaining to the care, custody and control of those records.
The equipment presented to JARD, inclusive of computers, reel to reel players, compact and digital video discs, and VHS players, were procured through funding from the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund. JARD’s Audio-Visual Unit will have direct responsibility for the equipment, which will facilitate digitisation of the archival records of ministries and public sector agencies.