Thu | Jun 1, 2023

Entertainers, creative sector have a role to play in creating a positive environment – Duncan

Published:Tuesday | January 3, 2023 | 12:46 AM
From left: Keith Duncan, co-chair of Project STAR,  with Tony Rebel and Oral Heaven, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the media launch of Rebel Salute recently.
From left: Keith Duncan, co-chair of Project STAR, with Tony Rebel and Oral Heaven, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at the media launch of Rebel Salute recently.

Keith Duncan, former president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and co-chair of Project STAR, says entertainers and members of the creative sector have a major role to play in creating a positive environment where Jamaicans can see possibilities for themselves and their communities.

He made the observation while addressing the media launch of Rebel Salute at the ROK Hotel in downtown Kingston recently.

“While our music reflects the breakdown in our society, we must all come together to provide real tangible investments in our people, while imparting positive messages through our music to our impressionable youth and all Jamaicans,” he said.

He underscored the important role that artistes have as he made reference to Tony Rebel, who, he said, has consistently been a positive force as he has taken this responsibility on with a strong moral compass.

Duncan disclosed that Project STAR would be seeking to collaborate and partner with members of the creative and entertainment sectors to help in the transformational process which it is seeking to engender at the community level and, ultimately, right across Jamaica.

“An opportunity which Project STAR would like to explore with the entertainment sector and the GoJ is the much talked-about designated entertainment zones in communities where shows, dances, round robins, fish fries can be held. This will create an economic ecosystem where members of the communities can earn, enjoy themselves with appropriate rules, infrastructure [and] security in place to create a wholesome economic ecosystem,” he noted.


Launched in July, Project STAR is a social and economic development initiative created by the PSOJ in partnership with the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

“Project STAR believes that mindset change is a critical pillar of the programme, as people who face so much negativity, a culture of violence and lack of hope need to see that the possibility truly exists to transform themselves and their communities,” he said.

“So we intend to incorporate the teachings and philosophy of the Honourable Marcus Garvey into the programme, for obvious reasons which are summed up in a quote from our national hero himself: ‘If we as a people realised the greatness from which we came, we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves’,” he added.

Duncan noted that if Jamaica is to return to a place where everyone cared about each other, then there needs to be a ‘whole of wi’ approach to transformation, where love is shown to everyone, including brothers and sisters, children and elders in the communities.

“Let us take action now and make way for a positive day. We cannot afford to wait any longer to recapture the good things for which Jamaica has been admired regionally and globally,” he said.

In partnership with community members, Project STAR has engaged in community reasonings, open days, and executed practical initiatives, such as sporting programmes – football and basketball - as well as care for the elderly, and training.

“We are currently placing members of the communities in jobs in the financial sector, tourism, the business process outsourcing, manufacturing and the shipping sectors. We are initiating school feeding programmes in the early-childhood schools at the beginning of the school term in January, as a means of improving attendance and performance,” Duncan said.

Project STAR is set to commence working in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, in January, then in May Pen, Clarendon, within the first six months of 2023.