JIS News

The Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS) is making plans to expand, energize and enhance activities in its culture and entertainment division, through the introduction of new and revitalized programming.
Making the disclosure in her contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate at Gordon House, yesterday (June 17), Minister Grange said: “We intend to create a better way for a better Jamaica by seriously engaging our culture and making it the central motif of our development programme. Our culture, music and sports is at the centre of Brand Jamaica, our impact on the world. The Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports is well positioned and poised to deliver in this area. We boast a Culture and Entertainment Division and a host of solid agencies offering dynamic programmes in culture and entertainment.”
Through the work of agencies like the Institute of Jamaica and its Divisions, as well as the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, the National Library and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), led by the Ministry, Miss Grange said programmes have been sustained and enhanced, geared at the promotion of cultural identity and diversity.
“In this regard, we have promoted research and mounted exhibitions for the enlightenment of our people. Up to late last year and early this year, our agencies mounted several exciting and educational exhibitions,” she noted.
These include some that have been linked to the celebration of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, such as ‘Materializing Slavery’ by the Museums Division of the Institute of Jamaica and the National Gallery, as well as ‘Campaigners for Freedom’ and ‘Africa and the Diaspora: A Two Way Journey’ by the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica.
In addition, she informed, the National Gallery mounted an exhibition of the works of the first recognized artist in Jamaica, Isaac Mendes Belisario, with his illustrations of Jonkunnu and other cultural manifestations of Jamaican ancestors.
Meanwhile, as part of the endeavour, the JCDC working in tandem with the Ministry of Education (through the Culture in Education Programme) and the Citizenship Project in the Ministry of National Security, has started introducing Culture Clubs across the island in schools and community groups. “The process has begun with the establishment of a number of clubs in St. Elizabeth and the aim is to use these clubs to engage students in research and other activities for the promotion of knowledge in cultural content and, of course, of pride in their culture and heritage and ultimately self definition,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Liberty Hall has seen tremendous success with children and their parents participating in daily homework and computer literacy sessions. “For example, over 100 adults ranging from age 20 to 82 successfully completed 18 weeks of computer literacy classes,” she told the House.
Miss Grange also highlighted the Ministry’s engagement with the Rastafari and Maroon communities. “One of the issues that have plagued many of our communities is that of organization. In many communities, there have been conflicts or disorganization or simply lack of unity. Our efforts in the promotion of identity have therefore focused on unity, organization and capacity building, recognizing the invaluable contribution of these communities to our cultural identity and history,” she explained.
Turning to the JCDC, the Minister said the Commission has continued its role of enhancing national development through the unearthing, development and showcasing of the talents of Jamaica.

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