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Jamaica announces major relief package for cultural industries

Jamaica announces major relief package for cultural industries
Minister Olivia Grange (Jamaica Gleaner)

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange has announced a J$90-million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) special support package for members of the entertainment, culture and creative industries.

The new J$90 million package is double the J$40 million that was originally announced.

“Early in the year, we were able to give small grants to individuals.  We were not able to access the $40 million that was allocated by the Ministry of Finance that we could have given a larger number of persons. So the Ministry of Finance has now finalised arrangements to not just to give us the 40 million — that we were not able to use last year — but an increase,” Grange said.

So we are looking at a total of $90 million at this time, out of which the individual grants will be given. And then next year we will look at other categories that would be eligible for the grants.”

The entertainment minister thanked the Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke, for responding to her consistent representations on behalf of the Entertainment, Culture and Creative Industries.

“Effective immediately, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is accepting applications for “grants of $60,000 per individual,” Grange noted.

Approximately one thousand individual grants will be awarded.

“Whatever your skills are; as long as you’re a practitioner in the industry, you can benefit. If you’re an actor, a singer, a songwriter; we’re talking about the stagehands, engineers, selectors, sound system operators, owners of sound systems, people in film. So it’s a variety. Once you meet the criteria, you will benefit.”

There are three main criteria – the beneficiary must be registered on the Ministry’s e-Registry.  They must be a member of an established industry organisation such as JaRIA or JAFTA; and must either have an account with any Jamaican bank or a Prepaid Mastercard to facilitate payment of the grant.

“I think that the Entertainment, Culture and Creative Industries sector was probably greatly impacted more than any other sector and so it was necessary for us to see what we can do.  Even now as the restrictions are eased, entertainment events are still restricted,” the Entertainment Minister said.

She is encouraging members of the sectors to go to the Ministry’s website to apply for the grants.

“It’s an easy process, and it’s a process that we’re hoping will help persons in the sector,” she said.  (CMC)