Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
JAMAICAN ENTERTAINERS have been urged to educate themselves about the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, particularly as it relates to the right of CARICOM countries to deny the issuing of work permits on the grounds of protecting public morals or to maintain public order and safety.
Foreign Minister A. J. Nicholson said in the Senate on Friday that the Government has stoutly defended its entertainers' right to enjoy the benefits under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), but argued that it is important for entertainers to understand the requirements under the treaty.
The minister, who was opening the debate on a bill which is seeking to amend the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act, argued that Jamaican entertainers qualify under the regime as temporary service providers, which means they can move from Jamaica to elsewhere in the Caribbean to perform.
"I must state that entertainers are eligible for both skills certificates and recognition as temporary service providers," the minister said.
He noted, however, that there are challenges some Jamaican entertainers have had to deal with when moving across the region to provide their services.
"The ministry is seized of the issue and is working closely with the ministry of tourism and entertainment on measures to improve the situation," Nicholson said.
State minister in the tourism ministry, Damion Crawford, who has portfolio responsibility for entertainment, said Jamaica has prepared a submission on the matter, which is to be brought before the The Council for Trade and Economic Development.
"We are saying that member states should rate events. Our artistes have a variety of songs, for example, Bounty Killer sings Book Book Book. So if there is an event rating, entertainers can perform the appropriate songs from their catalogue," Crawford told The Sunday Gleaner.
The junior minister went on to say the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice in the Shanique Myrie v Barbados case makes it clear that all entertainers in the region should be given equal treatment by member states.
He said one good thing about the ruling is that a member state cannot, on the grounds of protecting public morals, deny a work permit to an artiste who is a citizen of another member state, while allowing its own citizens to perform similar songs at an event from which others of his ilk have been turned away.