Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Overseas hotel entertainers a growing concern

Published:Sunday | January 28, 2018 | 12:00 AM
From left: Patricia Edwards, Gem Myers and Karen Smith in performance.

The influx of overseas performers in north coast hotels is an unresolved issue which the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliates Union (JFMAU) has its sights squarely set on.

The union's president, Karen Smith, told The Sunday Gleaner, "the burning issue is to keep the artistes in the north coast working, expand the industry and make people more aware of the opportunities."

However, achieving those objectives is contingent upon addressing the number of foreign entertainers working in the industry, this in a situation where Smith says there is adequate high quality Jamaican talent to satisfy tourists.

"The product we offer, the talent we have, they (the hotel administration) have to see us in a different way and it does not happen overnight."

Smith positions the situation as a two-way flow, saying "we (the entertainers) have a responsibility in the equation as well, how we see ourselves."

The organisation's treasurer, Rory Frankson, pointed out the disparity between a growth in the number of hotels and a less than proportionate upswing in the number of Jamaican entertainers being employed in the sector. Frankson said, "you can't have expanding industries in one sector and contracting industries in another."

Still, in St James, where the state of public emergency has resulted in a clampdown on entertainment events, the hotels are proving an employment haven for those Jamaicans who work there and are provided with accommodation. Frankson said, "there are a lot of us in the hospitality sector. The performers who are in the hotels, have not been affected. The cases of concern would relate to those who have to go home in the night."

- M.C