State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, will have direct oversight for the Poet Laureate Programme.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, made the announcement at a Poet Laureate of Jamaica appreciation ceremony, held on October 9, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston.
The event, attended by the Poet Laureate of Jamaica for 2017-2020, Lorna Goodison, was also held to award the candidates of the Helen Zell: Young Writer’s Prize for Poetry Competition and to launch a book titled, ‘New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017-2020’.
Miss Grange said that the State Minister will be working closely with Chair of the Board of the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) and the National Librarian to further lift the profile of the Programme and “to encourage more young people to participate and to ensure that it grows from strength to strength.”
“The Poet Laureate Programme, our expression and the telling our own stories, needs to be more on the forefront of what we do and so the (State) Minister’s involvement and presence will ensure that this happens,” she said.
The Minister noted that in any society, active citizens require solid institutions which foster continued growth and development.
She said that the National Library, charged “with keeping the nation’s knowledge,” has produced various programmes which have “augured well for the institution in maintaining a high quality of service to the Jamaican people at every level.”
“So, as we navigate these challenging times, let us remember that it is our collective national responsibility to advance our most valuable asset, our cultural identity, and we must do that through discerning and forging new paths of development,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, State Minister Terrelonge said he is grateful for the opportunity to work with the organisation in helping to build new talent.
“So, I do accept this new role, Minister Grange, with a heart full of gratitude, because it gives me an opportunity to bridge the gap between culture and education,” he added.
“What is culture if not to educate the youth of our nation” he said, noting that culture is “to ensure that the traditions of society live on beyond the lifespan of anyone of us.”