Jamaica wants reggae on UNESCO cultural heritage list

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct 24, CMC – The Jamaica government says it is awaiting a response from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) as to whether the island has been successful in getting reggae music inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List.

Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Olivia Grange, said that UNESCO technical experts are in the process of examining Jamaica’s reggae submission and the island should have a response by next month.

“We are awaiting the results and it will be a major achievement for Jamaica if we are successful in having the designation declared by UNESCO,” she said, adding that her Ministry has been tasked to establish an inventory of intangible heritage unique to Jamaica, “which is also one of the criteria” required by UNESCO.

Grange, responding to questions regarding the designation of certain areas across the island as entertainment zones, said that a list of locations will be available soon, which will include Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine in the initial stages.

The minister, who was speaking at an event to launch 2019 Carnival, said that the collaboration between the Ministries for the staging of carnival “is essential if we are to create a more authentic tourism experience”.

She expressed satisfaction at the way “this entertainment product” has been evolving and attributed it to the “seamless fusion of dancehall and calypso/soca in parties and the road parades”.

The Entertainment Minister welcomed the introduction of the new carnival band Rebellion, which has been added alongside others such as Xaymaca International and Exodus, to name a few.

“This is an indication that more event producers here in Jamaica are adding the unique Jamaican flavour to what has been traditional in carnival,” she said.

Grange added that the increase in bands represents the establishment of a value chain, complete with designers, tailors and seamstresses making body wear and artisans bending wires and producing beautiful feathers.

“Carnival season is, therefore, alive with activities and provides economic activity for micro to large entrepreneurs,” she noted.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said that he wants to “build out Carnival in Jamaica to make it more remarkable for both visitors and locals”.

“This is in keeping with strategic steps that we are undertaking at my Ministry to strengthen Jamaica’s competitiveness as an entertainment destination as we reposition and diversify our product and generate high growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings,” he added.