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Speech

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has announced plans for the establishment of a Cultural and Creative Industries Commission, which will oversee development of Jamaica’s Cultural and Creative Industries Policy and Master Plan.

She said this will be undertaken in consultation with key stakeholders in efforts to promote the growth and development of those industries, thereby enabling the country to tap into the lucrative global earnings.

Making her contribution to the 2013/14 Budget Debate, under the theme: “Jamaica: Going for Growth and Development – Unleashing Our Potential”, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), showed an increase in the revenue generated from global exports of creative industry goods and services, from US$267 billion in 2002 to US$592 billion in 2008.

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“Cultural and creative industries are an important part of our growth and development agenda. They create avenues for social expression and jobs and will help generate additional streams of revenue. We have been talking about the social, institutional and economic value of the cultural and creative industries for many years. We plan to provide the enabling environment in which naturally talented, creative and industrious Jamaicans can develop,” she stated.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the modern focus which the administration will place on the sector is out of the recognition that it spans several industries as well as ministries, agencies and departments of government.

“In the past we have given separate, discrete focus to information and communications technologies (ICTs) innovation, and the traditional cultural and creative sectors including: design, music, broadcasting, performance arts and even sport. As part of our transformative approach, these will be rationalized and developed into a dynamic and important economic sector,” she disclosed.

Noting Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness’ suggestion that the expertise of local software developers be incorporated to provide applications consistent with the administration’s existing policy of encouraging ICT innovations, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the sourcing all of the content for this programme from local businesses will be “actively” pursued. She said formation of a special support fund will be explored, while citing the Universal Service Fund (USF) as a “possible source”.

[Download the Prime Minister’s 2013-14 Budget Presentation]

“We will also support software development – which also falls under the umbrella of cultural and creative industries development. If we want to grow, we must innovate. The talent already exists among our people…I have no doubt about that. Our people can invent and innovate and, as Government, we must empower, facilitate and expand that process,” she contended.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the government supports the call for a policy framework that places emphasis on: business development and incubation; supportive financing structures for the industries; research and development; marketing; institutional strengthening; and training, certification and standardization of skills.

Noting that most cultural and creative enterprises are micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs), the Prime Minister said they, too, will benefit from the programmes targeting the sector, which were announced earlier in Debate.

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter