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Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says while work is still ongoing regarding the development of the Creative and Cultural Industries Policy, it is far advanced.

“Much of the work has already been done. The studies have been written, and the analysis that tells us of the importance of our industries, is in place,” she said.

Ms. Hanna was speaking at the opening of the third International Reggae Conference, held at the University of the West Indies, Mona, on Thursday, February 14.

The Minister said that part of the policy development work now being done is ensuring that stakeholders, including the Government, have “a clear understanding what the concepts really mean for us in a holistic way for development.”

“We have looked at the many ‘jobs’ and ‘entrepreneurs’ that already exist in Jamaica, as micro/small business operators. We have looked at the informal nature of these businesses, the intricacies of registration, legitimization and formalization, and the knowledge that the inclusion of these informal activities that are now being done in studios, in practitioners’ bedrooms and living rooms, can change Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures positively,” she said.

The Minister noted that the cultural and creative industries policy will present the blueprint for how these industries fit into Jamaica’s national development plan for social, cultural, ideological and philosophical development.

“The creative and cultural economy has to be seen holistically. To truly understand our cultural and creative economy, it is important to know these creative and cultural professionals who work in the converged creative and cultural economy, where music, film and video, design, dance, drama, production and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) all work together beyond the narrow scope of just the music industry,” she said.

Miss Hanna pointed out that the policy formulation approach would be based on a private/public sector partnership.

“When this government speaks of public/private sector partnership, we are not speaking only about the large captains of industry and holders of capital. We are speaking about the individual Jamaicans, acting in their private capacities as musicians, sound engineers, producers and other creative workers, who have built this industry into what it is, almost in spite of any government,” she said.

Globally, the creative industries are estimated to account for more than seven per cent of the world’s GDP, and the sector is forecast to grow at a rate of 10 per cent annually. They include music, craft, cuisine, fashion, fine arts, publishing, film and video, advertising, architecture and a host of other creative goods and services.

The three-day International Reggae Conference is being hosted under the theme: ‘Traditional and Emerging Themes in Popular Music’.

It will highlight the international spread of reggae music and culture in affiliation with Europe’s acclaimed Rototom Sunsplash Festival, as it celebrates 20 years of showcasing reggae lifestyle and culture.

The conference’s agenda include: academic panels, special presentations, roundtables, and a variety of cultural activities.