The police have been called in to investigate the disappearance of thousands of vinyl records and compact discs from the archives of the defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC).
Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Olivia Grange said the discovery was made by senior staff of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) during a tour of the facility on Wednesday.
The music library, which was under the watch of the National Archives, appears to have been stripped of 80 per cent of its content. It is suspected that the items were removed over the period 2004 to 2007.
Between November 2005 and November 2007 the premises fell under the control of Belgian firm Besix, which was contracted to work on the nearby transport centre.
Minister Grange said she was confident the police would be pulling out all the stops in an effort to find those involved in the disappearance of the most comprehensive music collection in Jamaica.
Cultural heritage damaged
"Those who have committed this act have done violence to our deep cultural heritage," she said. "This archive was expected to be a core asset of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica, which will be taking to the airwaves in the near future with a great variety of informational, educational and culturally entertaining programmes."
She added: "I am not sure whether enough was done to secure this national treasure, but we will know more as the police investigations continue."
Minister Grange said she was appealing to the public, locally and overseas, to be on the lookout for persons who might be in possession of the records and CDs and to contact the police if they have information.