The Jamaican government is calling for preferential treatment for cultural professionals and practitioners travelling abroad to promote the growth and development of the country’s cultural and entertainment sectors.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia “Babsy” Grange, made the call to diplomats during the Diplomatic Week 2023 briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on March 1. She urged developed countries to establish a two-year moratorium to facilitate the movement of artists, cultural professionals, and practitioners to Europe through preferential instruments and systems. She also stressed the importance of this facilitation extending to the movement of goods and services.
Ms. Grange cited the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which specifies that developed countries should facilitate cultural exchanges with developing countries through preferential treatment of artists and other cultural professionals and practitioners, as well as cultural goods and services from developing countries. She noted that a recent increase in visa fees by a particular country had seriously impacted Jamaican entertainers, who are well-loved globally.
The Minister also highlighted Reggae Month 2023 celebrations, which are “taking on across the world”. Other countries are planning their own Reggae Month celebrations, and the Minister expressed her inspiration by the growth and popularity of the event. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global reggae festival economy saw around 326 reggae festivals, with the largest festivals in France, Spain, Germany, the United States and Canada.