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Craft markets will be saved if ...

Published:Monday | March 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Carla Seaga

The Editor,

Your editorial of Saturday, February 27 points to the need to save the Kingston craft market. I agree with the need to save the market but the problem goes deeper than that. If you simply save a market and have nothing to sell, you will still have a problem. That is the sad case of the industry today.

The problem has its genesis in the demise of Things Jamaican. Its factory at Bumper Hall was destroyed in the 1990s when it was converted to a prison.

Things Jamaican used to train our craft people and show them what was marketable. It graded craftwork so that only the quality items would be chosen for sale. It also purchased items from craft people in quantity, so that they could meaningfully make a living from their industry.

Important facilities

Things Jamaican was also a place where craft people would come to use expensive machinery that they could not afford, but which was needed to perfect their craft.

Important too is that retailers had a central location at Things Jamaican, Bumper Hall, where they could buy in bulk for their stores. At the moment, retailers often depend on the individuals who visit their stores with small quantities hoping to eke out a living.

The craft industry is now dying as it gropes to survive under three ministries: (1) The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (2) The Ministry of Tourism and (3) The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

Jamaican craft needs to fall under one entity and it needs a revised policy. We need to see the right 'fix' for the craft industry. Fix the industry and the craft markets will fix themselves.

I am, etc.,



Devon House