Government to clear air on Etana's grant

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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IN light of mounting criticism, a media briefing is set for today to clear the air regarding the award of a US$5,000 grant by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport to recording artiste Etana to assist with an upcoming 32-city tour.

“There'll be a press briefing tomorrow,” a source told the Jamaica Observer late yesterday evening.

A venue and time were yet to be determined.

Since last Thursday's grant by Minister Oliva “Babsy” Grange to the reggae singer there has been strong opposition from some quarters, among them recording artiste Tanya Stephens.

Stephens took to social media to voice her disapproval.

“New program 'supporting' entertainment and the first grant of USD5K goes to Etana for tour support. I love Etana but she mus lick her head fi accept that position!”

“Investment should show a clear path to profit. Public investment should have public profit. In the same way I don't think the tourism minister should buy computers for the craft market vendors in Ocho Rios who demanded them I can not be hypocritical about my own industry. I would be happy to see public funding spent on a craft school or programs in schools. I'd be ecstatic if funding was given to public school to create and enhance music programs/education. Hopefully that clears ANY misconception,” she said on Faceboook.

A number of individuals have also taken to social media blasting Grange, with many stating that the funds could have been used for a better purpose.

On Minister Grange's Facebook page the comments were predominantly in disagreement, with some stating that the funds should have gone to newcomers in the music business. Others suggested the funds should have been donated to the GoFundme campaign launched by the relatives of theatre actress Rosie Murray.

Murray suffered a heart attack in December and requires US$20,000 for surgery.

Etana is the first female recipient of financial support through the ministry's Artiste Ambassador and Tour Support Programme, which was reportedly developed in 2014.

She is known for songs including Wrong Address, I Rise, I'm Not Afraid, and People Talk.

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