Entertainment sector cautiously optimistic about ministry plans
While expressing confidence in Olivia Grange, minister of entertainment, sport, culture and gender affairs, two analysts in the creative industry say they are concerned that plans to develop the sector will become a talk shop.
In assessing the Government's first 100 days in office, Dr Donna Hope Marquis, university lecturer and cultural researcher, said she believed the country could see good results in entertainment if there was a more cohesive approach.
"I'm being cautiously optimistic. Due to the tense fiscal space, there is little money to go around. We haven't done very well as a country in terms of maximising on what we have," she said.
"Hopefully, we see the entertainment industry in a more cohesive framework because it's a bit fragmented. We have been seeing activities in the last 100 days, but it's still early days yet."
She continued: "I believe the minister has a good background in entertainment and culture. I believe she has a good grasp and overview of it. The challenge we have had over the years is that we share plans, and because of the way the budget and resources are allocated, nothing much happens."
Hope Marquis also indicated that it would be in the interest of the country to get serious about creating entertainment zones.
"Jamaica is seen as a prime entertainment area, and so people are surprised when they come and realise that there is no structure in terms of events. People still have to be mindful of the time because of fear that the police will end the party. Many of the locations for events are tied to residential areas, and that is an impediment," she said.
Similarly, Herbie Miller, director and curator of the Jamaica Music Museum, said he hoped that plans he has heard for the last 20 years would be realised.
"I have seen proposals of a state-of-the-art performance hall and heard of ideas of what the Jamaica music museum ought to be. I must also say I have heard that song before, so, hopefully, this new Government will see these plans to fruition," Miller said.
"Entertainment needs to move beyond just having a big bash on Independence Day or some seasonal festivals. There has to be a sustained way in looking at culture and entertainment as an important ingredient to the country's development. We have to start seeing it as equally important as reading writing and arithmetic," he declared.