The creative industries contain music, entertainment, food and sports. It is one of the rapidly increasing industries and was the centre of discussion for the 8th plenary session of the Jamaica Diaspora Conference. The five-member panel, all agreed that it is imperative that the nation maximizes the value of this industry for Economic Growth and Job Creation.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange tried her best at traditional song before starting her presentation. She extended her condolences to the nation on the passing of the late Edward Seaga and spoke about the great work he had done for the development of the country. On a lighter note, she congratulated the Reggae Girlz on their accomplishments. She stated that a greater lesson was learnt, despite them not getting their desired results:
She eagerly stated that the government is moving toward gender equality. As an example, this can now be seen in sports as both women and men teams are being treated equally:
Minister Grange also assured the diaspora that the ministry is working toward better protecting the country’s women and girls. She reassured the audience that the ministry is not excluding the country’s men as the nation needs them and vice versa:
Mayor of Miramar and current presidential candidate; Mr. Wayne Messam was the second presenter. He informed the audience that due to the vast number of Jamaicans living in Miramar; he is now working on makeing Miramar a ‘sister-city’ with Kingston. He stated that the collaboration of the Miramar Cultural Center with the Ward Theatre in Kingston is the first of many projects.
Culture and Creative Industries was the focus of Mrs. Gillian Wilkinson-McDaniel’s speech. Mrs. Wilkinson-McDaniel is the Senior Director of Entertainment at the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment. She spoke about technology disrupting people’s everyday lives which cause a cultural gap. She also stated that videogames are disruptive as they are another medium through which children can learn about Jamaican culture:
She implored the diaspora to educate the youth on Jamaica’s culture as well as involving them in the thinking of our culture
CEO of Ready TV, Mr. Chris Dehring concentrated on content throughout his address. He stated that content is imperative in the development of the creative industries due to the proliferation of screens across the world.
Mr. Dehring stated that Jamaicans should work on developing our own content as we are one of the most creative people in the world. He also insisted that it was best practice instead of buying broadcasting rights from international companies:
He stated that in order to boost the industry, the nation needs to desist from refering to it as just a hobby. Mr. Dehring also lobbied for an adjustment in the education system so students with creative interests can be included:
CEO of Brand EQ Group Inc., Nadine Spencer, agreed with the points made by her co-panelists. She stated that in order to maintain the authenticity of the industry, ‘Brand Jamaica’ needs to be copyrighted. Ms Spencer challenged diaspora members to take the opportunity to work with and for the government to change the image of Jamaica. Additionally, she expressed that the industry is vast but needs to be better marketed: