JIS News

Chairman of the Reggae Month Committee (RMC), Howard McIntosh, says that he hopes that Reggae Month 2009 will help to create a more united, formalised and structured Jamaican music industry, which can stimulate effective lobbying for the incentives needed for its development.
“We want to use this opportunity to bring the industry together, to more effectively lobby for some of the things that the industry needs, and to help people understand why the industry needs it,” he said in an interview with JIS News.
“There is a responsibility, on the part of the industry, to restructure itself and do a certain level of lobbying. We would love incentives, yes, but they must be properly constructed and directed, and that is going to require input on the part of the Government and the industry,” he added.
Continuing, Mr. McIntosh proposed that dialogue between a structured music industry and the Government could lead to a “package that ensures greater compliance on the part of the industry, whether it is tax compliance, statutory compliance, legal compliance or other things.”
“(This would) allow for better measurement in terms of the contribution to the economy and, therefore, it would allow more effective lobbying for what it is that we want,” he explained.
He said that this was absolutely necessary because, “until we have answers to some of the questions that are being asked, (like) what is the level of revenue generated by the industry and what is its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? We are not going to be able to effectively lobby.”
Another member of the RM Committee, Jade Lee, who is also an industry representative, said she strongly believed that achieving a structured and united music industry was possible, given the passion and the ability of the Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, to bring all the players to the table.
“It is the first time, I think, that a lot of the industry players and members are coming together as team players, and it has a lot to do with the passion that the Minister has expressed for the industry and for the music. When I came to the first meeting and I saw the turn out that the Minister was able to bring together, it was very overwhelming to me,” Ms. Lee remarked.
“I think a lot of us in the industry jumped on board, because it was the first time we had seen such a large section of the industry and so many different parts of the industry, from service providers, producers, entertainers, business people in the industry, come together”, she told JIS.
“And one of the things that we, as a body with the Minister after Reggae Month, are going to be looking at, is to get the industry together. I see in the meetings a lot of things to come. It is something that we are going to continue and most, if not all of us, are very committed to the cause and to formalizing the industry and looking at ways to help the industry help itself”, she continued.
Throughout the month of February the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS), along with a number of entertainment partners, will host a series of entertainment and educational activities to celebrate Reggae.
As part of the celebrations, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, will host music industry players at a reception at Jamaica House on Sunday, February 8, and the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes & Affiliates (JAVAA) will host a tribute to “Bob Marley & Dennis Brown, the King & Crown Prince of Reggae” concert on Friday, February 6, at the Gardens, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

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