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Jamaican Government Making Good On Promise To Invest in Reggae Music

It would appear that Jamaican Cabinet members are heeding the appeal of members of the music fraternity, for the Government to invest more resources in Reggae.

The Jamaican Government has launched a new musical initiative to facilitate the development and hosting of multiple daily Reggae events, particularly in the island’s resort townships. According to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, the initiative dubbed ‘Tourism Reggae Product’ which will be undertaken by his Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, will target visitors to the island who are lovers of the genre.

Speaking at the recent launch of Reggae Month at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston, Bartlett said the Government has committed $10 million to initiate and build out “a major cultural product,” which is intended to enhance the visitor experience, through what he described as the streamlined infusion of Reggae music.

“They want to have Reggae events like they do with the tango in Buenos Aires in Argentina or at the Tropicana in Cuba… three, four times a day. So, this Tourism Reggae Product will be available to our visitors 24/7,” Bartlett said, noting that many tourists who travel for indigenous cultural and entertainment experiences crave multiple offerings of associated events.

Buju Banton PM Andrew Holness

Bartlett also had some other good news for the entertainment fraternity. He said through the Tourism Ministry’s Entertainment Network, a window will be provided at Jamaica’s Export-Import Bank to provide low-interest loans to investors “in the building out of the Reggae product.” This initiative, he said, is crucial in strengthening the relationship between culture and entertainment.

Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, will be collaborating with Bartlett’s designated officer from the Tourism Linkages Network, to assemble a team to undertake the groundwork, following which investors will be identified.”

Bartlett said entertainment represents, possibly the strongest element of visitor consumption next to food, with an expected boom in the number of hotel rooms on the island, there will be a concomitant call on the cultural assets of Jamaica and “we must, therefore, invest in it.”

“So, we are looking for partners now… young enterprising people who can walk the road with us over the next 10 years..,” he said.

Reggae Month 2020 will be celebrated in February under the theme ‘Come ketch de Riddim’ and will feature 29 days of live Reggae music across Jamaica and the Diaspora.

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