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-         Mrs. Jennifer Griffith, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism

-         Dr. Andrew Spencer, Executive Director, Tourism Product Development   Company (TPDCo)

-         Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF)

-         Mr. Wesley Vanriel, Zyacom Limited, and other company representatives

-         Representatives of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC); Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the Jamaica Bureau of Standards (JBS) and Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO)

-         Members of the Media

·       It is indeed a pleasure to be here this morning as we draw closer to our goal of establishing a Craft Development Institute (CDI) in collaboration with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC).

·       As you may recall, in January of this year the Tourism Product Development   Company (TPDCo) signed an MOU with the EMC to concretise their commitment to working together on the CDI. 

·       The signing of the contract here today is a critical next step as the consultants will now be able to complete the Business Case for the establishment CDI.  

·       The Business Case will detail the capacity of the EMC and provide Government with expert advice as to the skills training gaps, as well as the financial and organizational requirements necessary to ensure the CDI’s sustainability.

·       I am pleased at the progress in making the Craft Development Institute a reality as it is integral to my Ministry’s mandate to build a truly sustainable tourism product – one that benefits all of our people.

·       The creativity of our population is one of our most powerful resources. Our artisans are imaginative and skilful, and Jamaica has a natural abundance of beautiful raw materials with which to work.

·       Unfortunately, at present we are not utilizing our cultural capital to our full economic advantage and this is to our detriment.

·       I say this because cultural capital can be a catalyst for socio-economic growth. It can provide a sustainable livelihood for local artisans and satisfy visitors seeking authentic experiences. In addition, it gives us leverage in an increasingly competitive global tourism market.

·       The arts and culture in general are integral to enhancing the visitor’s experience, especially as we have an increasing number of visitors seeking an authentic experience. These visitors want to meet with the locals, understand their culture, experience their lifestyle and eat their food.

·       Nowhere is authenticity more important than in the arts and craft sector. The modern tourist does not want assembly line mass produced souvenir items made in a foreign land. Visitors are increasingly willing to spend their money on hand-crafted products that link them to the destination’s culture and history and remind them of their experience in that destination.

·       There are significant economic benefits to be gained from the arts and craft sector.  Unfortunately, the mass importation of cheap ‘Jamaican’ souvenirs has severely impacted and diminished business opportunities for our local crafts people and is causing a leakage of much-needed foreign exchange.

·       Enhancing the authenticity of our craft items is one of our main priorities. This is why my Ministry and its agencies are working closely with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the Jamaica Bureau of Standards (JBS) and Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO) to establish the CDI, which I expect to be operational by 2018.

·       The CDI will provide:

§  Provide training for practicing artisans who have not had secondary or tertiary education or craft training;

§  Provide training for students entering a degree programme;

§  Facilitate the assessment and certification of artisans through the Jamaica Bureau of Standards (JBS); and

§  Facilitating the protection of new designs created in the CDI and EMC by working closely with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO). The CDI will earn income from providing this service.

·       In addition to providing training for artisans, we realize that the CDI must find other ways to sustain itself. This will be done in three ways:

§  By showcasing the work of local fine artists, photographers and craft producers in hotel, restaurants, gift shops, etc.   This could be an important mechanism to connect artists and artisans to the tourism value chain. 

§  Through an-artist-in-residence programme.  This programme could include fine artists or musicians, dancers or artisans, and provide Jamaicans and visitors with another type of view of Jamaica. People will surely pay to have master classes with the likes of a master ceramic artist and sculptor like Gene Pearson or reggae artiste Chronixx.

§  Through an awards programme that recognizes excellence in craft design, development and production as well as recognizes individuals or organizations for leadership and contributions to the advancement of the craft sub-sector.

·       The CDI ties in neatly with our plans to construct five Artisan Villages in resort areas across the island - Falmouth, Port Antonio, Negril, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay will follow.

·       The Artisan Villages will be one-stop-shop facilities where visitors can see the creation and merchandising of craft items, while enjoying authentic Jamaican entertainment and leisure activities. They will also provide another avenue for Jamaican artists and craftsmen to expose and express their creativity.

·       There is a great need for institution of training like the CDI to enhance our human capital and boost our sector. Partnerships, such as the dynamic ones being forged here this morning, are extremely crucial to human and national development. I look forward to the completion of the Business Case by this wise team of consultants as we seek to realize the full potential of our craft sector.

Thank you.

Speech Date: 
Friday, May 25, 2018