JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called for all the creative talents within the Caribbean Community to be unleashed in order to advance economic development in the Region.
  • The Prime Minister made the call during her remarks at the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government on February 26 in Nassau, Bahamas.
  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller also advocated for the speedy advancement of the Draft Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan for the Cultural Industries.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called for all the creative talents within the Caribbean Community to be unleashed in order to advance economic development in the Region. The Prime Minister made the call during her remarks at the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government on February 26 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller also advocated for the speedy advancement of the Draft Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan for the Cultural Industries. “Let us seize this opportunity to ensure that the Draft Regional Development Strategy and Action Plan for the cultural Industries is expeditiously placed before the appropriate organs including the Community Council for full deliberation before presentation to Heads for approval,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The draft strategy lists among its objectives, growing the creative economy by building more globally competitive cultural industries as the foundation for increased employment in the sector and advocates for better management of the sector to relocate more of the value chain back to the Region.

The Prime Minister also indicated that Jamaica is already far advanced with pursuing some of the priority actions proposed by CARICOM. Jamaica has begun the process of updating its 2003 Cultural Policy and is preparing a new Cultural and Creative Industries policy which places emphasis on business and entrepreneurship.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s remarks followed a presentation by former Prime Minister of Jamaica PJ Patterson on Leveraging CARICOM’s Human, Cultural and Natural Assets for the Economic Development of the Community. Notably, Mr. Patterson proposed that the Caribbean Development Fund and the Caribbean Development Bank collaborate with the CARICOM Secretariat to design a mechanism for sustainable financing of the sector, including private sector resources and partnerships. He further recommended the establishment of a Caribbean Creative Industries Management Unit.

Mr. Patterson also asserted that “the creative industries offer the larger Caribbean feasible options to leapfrog into high growth areas of the global economy by showcasing to the world its distinctive cultural content.” Pointing to other advantages, Mr. Patterson said that “investing in culture and the creative sector, as a driver of social development, can also lead to results that contribute to the overall well-being of communities, individual self-esteem and the quality of life, dialogue and cohesion.”

Prime Minister Simpson Miller welcomed Mr. Patterson’s proposals and endorsed CARICOM’s strategic focus on the Cultural and Creative Industries and the attendant opportunities for Jamaica and the wider Region.

Research shows that the share of developing country exports in the world trade of creative goods and services has grown steadily in recent years, with total exports reaching US$631 billion in 2011, more than double their 2002 level. While comprehensive data on CARICOM is limited, it is estimated that the economic contribution of Jamaica’s copyright sector to the Jamaican economy in 2005 stood at J$29 billion or 4.8 percent of GDP. In Trinidad and Tobago it was 4.8% of GDP in 2011 and accounted for 5% of jobs and in St. Lucia, the contribution of the sector to GDP has been rising steadily from approximately 3.2% of GDP in 2000 to approximately 7.8% in 2010.