Sun | Feb 18, 2018

New gov't, new attitude required

Published:Friday | February 26, 2016 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell

Ahead of yesterday's general election, a number of music-related issues for the incoming government occupied the attention of influential persons within the entertainment industry.

FAME FM's Collin Hines told The Gleaner that enforcement of the Noise Abatement Act has been plagued by favouritism.

"The cut-off times for events should be upheld by every person across the board. If one party at Mas Camp is held until 4 a.m., then all parties should go until 4 a.m. The same standard that is set for the dancehall-man should be applied to Mr Soca-Man," he said.


A structure in place


Hines also wants the government to take steps in managing music as brand Jamaica's mainstay. "Dancehall and reggae run this right now and the government needs to put a foot in to help put a structure in place," he told The Gleaner.

Hines said the practice of Jamaican governments abandoning the work of past administrations must stop.

"It will pull Jamaica out of the quicksand instead of pressing the reset button over and over," he said. He believes little has been accomplished since 1962 because the rival main political parties have constantly refused to put the country first.

Entertainment manager/publicist Ray Alexander does not expect any changes, since politicians have developed a reputation for making empty promises to the Jamaican people. However, he would love to see customs duties on musical material waived. Alexander said since music is one of Jamaica's biggest pull factors, creative persons should not be charged exorbitant fees to travel with equipment and promotional material.

"They know the artiste and they know we are helping to bring foreign currency into the country, so why are they putting us under so much pressure? Sometimes, you are building a studio to improve our music, and they charge you so much to bring new equipment into the island, you become frustrated and don't bother. We try JAMPRO sometimes, but they have a lot of red-flags ... I just want the government to stick to its promises and stop having amnesia after elections," Alexander said.

Curator of the Jamaica Music Museum in the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), Herbie Miller, wants to see Jamaica with its own state-of-the-art entertainment centre. Taking note of the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre and Jazz at the Lincoln Centre in the US, Miller told The Gleaner that "culture and entertainment ought to be marketed like tourism, and at present, there is not even a place here for an acoustic performance ... Even our music museum is struggling".

Miller also asked for keen attention to be paid to education, health care, infrastructure and crime prevention.

"The government should ensure that people are not overlooked, and right now, too many persons are living in squalor," he said.