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Babsy 'hurt' by Ja 50 song controversy

Published:Friday | June 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Opposition Spokesperson on Culture Olivia 'Babsy' Grange has confirmed that she has refused to agree to the contents of a joint communiqué on a meeting with Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna, aimed at bringing some closure to a raging dispute over the Jamaica 50 plans.

Grange's refusal to endorse the joint statement has prevented the ministry from dispatching the communiqué to the media, a move which was intended to convey the message that the current controversy over two Jamaica 50 songs was resolved.

"The communication was severed after they objected to my recommendations," Grange told The Gleaner.

In an obvious move to end the controversy over the two songs - the Shaggy-produced On A Mission which was commissioned by the current minister and the Michael Bennett-produced Find A Flag which was launched under Grange, the former minister - Hanna's ministry announced yesterday that the public would be allowed to vote on the many songs that have been submitted by various artistes to the Jamaica 50 Secretariat.

Minister confirms meeting

Hanna confirmed in a release yesterday that she had met with Grange and presented to her the rescoped and restructured Jamaica 50 programme.

The minister said both parties "frankly, openly and honestly discussed the Jamaica 50 programme, including the status of the Michael Bennett-produced song.

Hanna said it was decided that Find A Flag, which was also a collaboration involving several artistes, would be used as part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations wherever appropriate.

But Grange told The Gleaner she was "hurt, concerned and disappointed" by the developments. She said when the joint communiqué was sent to her for her approval, she asked for some amendments which were not forthcoming.

"I don't want to praise myself or my tenure but I had put my hand and heart fully into what I was doing and I sought to ensure that I did not divide Jamaica," she said.

The statement from the youth and culture ministry said the current marketing campaign song was never intended to be, nor was it considered by the Jamaica 50 Secretariat to be the official Jamaica 50 celebration song.