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The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is moving ahead with plans to establish an Entertainment Registry, which will certify and register local entertainment practitioners.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, in his Sectoral Debate presentation on Wednesday, June 3, explained that the registry will provide an information hub “that facilitates the delivery and administration of the processes necessary for the development of a sustainable entertainment industry”.

The aim, he said, is to build the industry while ensuring that the stakeholders reap the benefits.

He informed that when operational, the registry will provide a central portal for listing Jamaican entertainment services and companies including their key profile and contact information; legitimise the entertainment industry for greater economic benefit; facilitate efficiency and transparency within the entertainment industry; and provide for the free movement of creative skills internationally and across the region.

As it relates to free movement for artistes within CARICOM, Mr. Crawford said that the Tourism Ministry has had meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on the matter, and has participated in regional discussions, including the 13th Meeting of Officials on the Free Movement of Skills and Facilitation of Travel, which was held in September 2012.

Members of the Ministry’s Entertainment Division along with representatives from the Ministry of Youth and Culture and JAMPRO, formed the contingent to the regional meeting.

The State Minister said the Division was concerned with free movement within the context of travel of artistes, musicians, sportspersons and cultural workers across the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

“In this context,the Entertainment Registry will provide economic benefits to practitioners through a Regional Customs Exemptions Regime and other incentives especially those derived from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and other trade/development agreements,” Mr. Crawford said.

Mr. Crawford, who first announced the move to establish the registry, at a public consultation in Kingston in May, explained at the time, that the registry will assist artistes when they apply for work permits and visas for overseas engagements.

“We have heard many complaints of artistes not being able to travel and perform and our research shows that if they were actually listed as professionals (they would be looked at favourably). Persons were saying ‘how do we know that this person is an artiste?’ We have looked at the EPA as it relates to European travel and the freedom of movement also calls for a registry,” he said.

Contact: Latonya Linton