Reggae Month to Highlight Economic Issues


Chairman of the Reggae Month Committee (RMC), Howard McIntosh has emphasised that heightening the discussion on the importance of reggae to Jamaica’s economy will be one of the major objectives of this year’s Reggae Month celebration.
Mr. McIntosh made the statement yesterday (January 29) at a ‘JIS Think Tank’ session hosted at the agency’s Half-Way-Tree Road headquarters.
“One of our main objectives is to force a discussion around how important and integral the reggae music industry is to the economy of Jamaica in terms of the contribution to economic growth and economic development and other critical economic factors such as employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he asserted.
This objective he said is in line with the Month’s focus on education.
“We will have a number of activities throughout the course of the Month but there will be a focus on education..we have symposia that will be held throughout the week of February 1 to 6, working specifically with the Bob Marley Foundation and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, in putting on the symposia for students at high schools,” he informed.
Continuing he revealed that the “RMC is also working with the Ministry of Education to host a seminar focussed on 5th and 6th formers primarily to educate them on the opportunities available in music. We are also doing a seminar for our own industry that will be hosted on the 27th with Kendall Minter talking about the business of music and where reggae music fits into the overall music industry in terms of globally”.
The Chairman also announced that another major development for Reggae Month is the fact that the organisers of the Rototom Sunsplash, the largest reggae festival in the world, will be coming to Jamaica to use Reggae Month to launch their festival, which is hosted in the summer in Italy.
In addition there will be a series of entertainment events. “We are working with the Negril Cluster; they will have a series of events in the first week. We are working with the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes (JAVA) they are having their concert on the 6th which is their tribute to Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and the icons… there will be three awards ceremonies that will occur during the month, the RETV MVP Awards, the Hype TV Awards and the EME Awards which is done by Richie B and then we close off Reggae Month on March 1, with our Reggae Industry Awards and Dinner at Jamaica House,” he disclosed.
Additionally Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, will host a reception on February 8, where he is expected to make some important pronouncements regarding the music industry. Also, there will be Reggae Villages in Kingston, Ocho Rios in St. Ann and Negril in Westmoreland.
For those who might be worried that in the current uncertain economic climate, the Government should be cautious with its expenditure, Mr. McIntosh assured that this has been taken into consideration.
“Because of what’s happening in the economy, one of the things that we have done this year is operated on the basis of leveraging existing events. So we will be working with specific events…as a grouping we will only be putting on three events during the course of the month,” he advised.
The Chairman also stated that Reggae Month is really the time for all Jamaicans to get excited about something that “we truly own and can make claims for” and as such is appealing to Jamaicans to come out and support the events.
“We want to make a special appeal on behalf of the people that make up the reggae industry… to all Jamaicans here and abroad, to support reggae, to support the industry and specifically to support Reggae Month activities,” he urged.
“During that month you will have a lot of activities, most of which will be free…all of the education events are free and the ones that have charges, the proceeds to the extent that they are will go towards buying musical instruments for schools, some of the industry players and setting up a music industry foundation,” he continued.
“We are encouraging the youths, the people who are interested and the media for their support in one of the only things that is ours because we don’t want to lose it,” he further emphasised.
Reggae Month, which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, will kick off on Sunday (Feb. 1) with a church service at the Fellowship Tabernacle in Kingston.

JIS Social