Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Two of Jamaica's leading entertainers, Agent Sasco and Wayne Marshall, have thrown their support behind a move to further tackle underage and irresponsible drinking, along with drunk driving.
The artistes are onboard the latest initiative dubbed the National Drink Right Campaign, launched by Red Stripe during a special ceremony at Jamaica House on Friday.
The Drink Right Campaign encompasses detailed plans of action, in partnership with Government, law-enforcement bodies, and public-health communities and others, to achieve the commitment to reducing underage drinking and drunk driving.
Speaking at the launch, Cedric Blair, managing director of Red Stripe, said the company was taking corporate social responsibility to the next level, by ensuring that a 'bullet-proof' ID system is implemented, and by creating the means by which to educate individuals about responsible drinking.
In support of the initiative, Sasco and Marshall have collaborated to write a song, The Red Stripe Drink Right Bounce, that will be used to promote the campaign.
Sasco, known for his socially conscious songs like Jah Guide and Protect, Same Thing Again, Idiot Ting Dat, Kind to Them and Gwaan like Thugs, believes the campaign is a step in the right direction.
"This campaign will cause great impact. To see a company like Red Stripe coming out with such a powerful and targeted message is great," he said.
"I am pleased to be part of the campaign to bring home this message of right age, right amount, and right way. It is clever in its approach. What is good is, it's not preachy ... but hits the right notes for the target consumer. I am proud to lend support to the campaign in this way."
The Drink Right initiative will entail online and live training programmes for bar staff that will subsequently impact an estimated 30,000 persons. There will also be off-trade training with the biggest convenience chains across the island and the marketing clubs of the two major universities.
But perhaps the greatest ambition is to deliver the 'DrinkIQ' training as part of the preparation for the driver's license written test.
The campaign is the latest evolution of an initiative launched by Red Stripe over five years ago.
"In 2008, we launched the first-ever responsible drinking programme in Jamaica, called Think Responsibly, Drink Responsibly. Since then, it has been deeply embedded in all our advertising, promotional activities, product packaging and innovations," said Blair at the launch on Friday.
"So impactful was this programme, we joined forces with the Jamaica Alcohol Beverages Association to launch an industry-wide campaign in the summer of 2012. This 'I am legal' campaign implemented age verification at all parties and continues to this day."