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Trench Town rocks - Culture Yard gets JTB licence to operate

Published:Tuesday | July 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Former Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr Wykeham McNeill (third left) unveils the new Bob Marley statue at Culture Yard in Trench Town, Kingston, while (from left) Junior Lincoln, Dr Henley Morgan, sculptor Scheed Cole (partly hidden), former Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna and Anthony Hylton, former minister of industry, investment and commerce, look on.

Some months ago the Trench Town Culture Yard was listed among scores of popular tourist attractions operating across the island without a licence under the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Act. Today, however, the cultural site is a legally operated business, having recently received its licence from the JTB.

The announcement was made at the International Reggae Day Conference, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Friday, July 1 (International Reggae Day).

"It is a very special day for us in Trench Town," said Junior Lincoln, as he made the revelation. The finance director of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, who has been very involved in the Trench Town Project, told the audience that obtaining the licence could only spell good things for the development of the inner city community.

"Getting our licence for Culture Yard is a major thing for a community like Trench Town. This is very significant because I believe if we're going to move Jamaica forward, we have to look at how we develop communities, and not just communities, but the people of these communities, because that is key," he explained, encouraging the government of the country to invest more in community development.



"If you look at what has made Jamaica great over the years, it's not the business nor the governments, but the ordinary people of this country that have made Jamaica great, so if we're going to move forward, we have to look at moving the people forward," he said.

Echoing Lincoln's statements, Minister of Culture Olivia 'Babsy' Grange told the audience that her ministry remains committed to the development of the Trench Town area, as she said that as a by-product of an inner-city community, she has firsthand experience of the talent that could come from the residents of these communities.

"As minister, I am prepared to partner with stakeholders to ensure that our people (particularly those who still live in that area, that gave rise to so many of the exponents of reggae) may be able to generate wealth form their continued residence in the creative city," she said. "It is time to monetise all that, because earning from our talents should be a natural thing."

The Trench Town Culture Yard is located at 6 and 8 Lower First Street in Trench Town. It was designated a protected national heritage on May 10, 2007. Today the internationally renowned cultural space houses a small museum, which presents the history of Trench Town. Instruments used by Vincent 'Tata' Ford (the man who inspired Bob Marley to pursue music), Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer are all on display at the museum.