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Editors' Forum | Crawford calls for entertainment zones within communities

Published:Sunday | November 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Tony Rebel

While more zones should be established for the well-promoted, major entertainment events, it is in the best interest of the industry that spaces are also selected within communities to house the smaller, yet still popular parties, according to Damion Crawford, former state minister of tourism and entertainment.

Speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Thursday, ahead of the fourth staging of Kingston Music Week, Crawford stated that 90 per cent of Jamaicans didn't fully understand the concept of an entertainment zone.

The Palisadoes strip in Kingston was approved by the National Environment and Planning Agency as Jamaica's first entertainment zone in December 2015.

"It (entertainment zone) isn't just a place that's far from people's houses, otherwise we couldn't keep street dance," said Crawford.

"As a matter of fact, a lot of our dances don't use a venue, they can't afford a venue. And a lot of our people don't have personal transportation. Therefore, when you only talk about going over Palisadoes, that takes away Tivoli people. How dem a go reach? JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) don't run at that hour, so, him a go take the liquor money and reach? It does not make sense. The communities must be able to identify that on a Friday or a Saturday, over the community centre is zone," Crawford reasoned.

Lecturer at the University of Technology (UTech) with responsibility for tourism and events management, Bennie Watson, agreed with Crawford.

The educator stated that the city has a lot of location-based capacity for innovation that continues to be overlooked.

"The Ward Theatre has become a labour ward when it could have been a space that we're using creatively. They're a lot of dilapidated buildings, not because they're of no use, but because we choose not to. There are things we can recreate, reuse. So, while we continue to constrain ourselves with what we don't have, we're ignoring what we do have, a capacity to improve upon," said Watson.

Patrick Barrett, popularly known as Tony Rebel, also shared Crawford's view, stating: "If those buildings could be converted to a place where the sound stays inside, it could work. In Kingston here, as this creative centre, we need to have some wonderful indoor venues," said Barrett.