Saturday, May 17, 2008

Brand Jamaica or Ban Jamaica

While crime and poverty grows in our society, one thing remains true, the popularity of the country, specifically its lifestyle and culture continues to grow internationally without national insurance.

The Great Barrier Reef is protected in Australia and animals on the Galapagos Islands are protected by legislation in Ecuador. Our great entertainment and lifestyle industry however, has no such protection in Jamaica.

The popularity of brand Jamaica is based largely on the popularity of its artisans and artistes who have excelled. For a country of our size, the amount of music and talent being presented to the world is astounding. However, the industry receives very little national support.

Despite the local music and lifestyle industry being unregulated; and in some instances outside of the official taxation, organization, registration and compliance structure, it does contribute greatly to the country’s welfare. In areas such as:

i. Generating income through registered entities such as record shops and studios.

ii. Generates lots of intellectual property and content; much of which is under-exploited, not compensated for and generally not understood.

iii. It generates a lot of popularity for Brand Jamaica in the international arena.

iv. It’s used in society throughout corporate and government advertising and publicity campaigns.

Our music is an important part of our proud existence. This is inherent in the numerous events held annually and the number of studious existing in the island. The diversity suites many taste with music such as:

Traditional reggae

Foundation music

Current and old dancehall

Various alternative spin-offs

Non-traditional reggae

However with this strong inherent in or society there as been no national investment in show venues or development programmes for the industry. No definitive agency has been established that has a clear understanding or undertaking to address the entertainment industry. No laws on the book that try to protect and nurture what comes out of the industry. No progammes in school that teaches young people music and no university that targets producing professionals that can enter our lifestyle industry. However recently steps have been taken to limit the time frame of live events and this poses a serious threat to the many entities that thrive off the industry. We should learn to stagger hours of some events and introduce a quota system, where certain amounts of events can be held late per month/year.


Brand Jamaica’s growth and development lies within the integration of intellectual property seamlessly into the economic and social machineries. One downfall of entertainment and lifestyle industry is its lack of organization within.

Players within the industry must collate aims and objectives, and work cohesively towards them.

Additionally, we need to challenge the leaders of our society to create development policies and programmes for our industry as Reggae is no longer restricted to Jamaica, neither dancehall e.g. Reggae ton.

If we don’t keep what is ours, others will realize the value and claim it, and then we’ll have nothing left.

Source: Headlines! Editor's Notes

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