Economist finds JCDC could transform crime-ridden, inner-city areas

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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THE Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) has the potential, to transform crime-ridden, inner-city communities into “cultural meccas”.

That is according to a report based on a study conducted on the contribution of the JCDC's performing arts programme to the Jamaican economy between 2011 and 2017 by Dr Andre Haughton of the Department of Economics at The University of the West Indies (UWI).

According to Dr Haughton's report, based on the study commissioned recently by the JCDC, the commission, through its performing arts programme, has contributed significantly to the flow of income into the Jamaican economy over the six-year period, but could do more for the inner-city communities with increased support and financing.

The report noted that the JCDC serves as a catalyst for the development and exposure of the island's indigenous talent “in a tailored professional manner”.

“The JCDC, if supported and funded sufficiently, has the potential to transform crime-ridden inner-city communities into cultural meccas, where people from all over the world will travel to witness and experience the irie and entertaining 'Jamaica, no problem' feeling across the island,” according to Dr Haughton.

He also noted that, given that his study serves as “a sort of baseline data on the economic impact of the JCDC's performing arts programme to the Jamaican economy between 2011 and 2017”, the report includes a number of recommendations as to the way forward in ensuring that the impact of its various competitions “is fully captured and distributed among the Jamaican populace”.

Haughton said that his study revealed that direct spending of $312 million on the performing arts during the period generated a backward linkage of $446.3 million, a forward linkage of $804 million, and a total multiplied contribution of over $1.24 billion in the Jamaican economy.

That, he said, represented “a return of almost 300 per cent per dollar” spent.

He said that over the six-year period, participants in the JCDC performing arts competition spent more than $211 million, in the transportation and communication industry, hotel and restaurant industry, and the manufacturing industry.

This, he said, generated a backward linkage of $292.6 million, a forward linkage of $525.8 million and a total multiplied contribution of over $791.8 million in the Jamaican economy.

He said that the majority of spending occurred in the music category, amounting to $26.9 million, with an overall multiplied effect of approximately $560 million. The least spending occurred in the speech category, amounting to little over $12.6 million. However, it contributed to an overall multiplier effect of $254 million in the economy.

Explaining the linkages, Dr Haughton noted that, in terms of the backward linkages, the demands of the industry lead to the establishment of other industries to satisfy its need.

“Production in one industry creates channels through which information, goods, services, and money flow between transacting agents along the supply chain creating a network of economic independence,” he explained.

In terms of forward linkages, he explained that “the output of a dollar spent in one industry is used as an input or spent in another industry”.

The overall multiplier effect, he explained, deals with the increase in total income arising from a $1 spent or injected as capital in the economy.

The JCDC was established in 1963 as the Jamaica Festival Office by then Minister of Development and Welfare Edward Seaga. It evolved into the JCDC in 1980 when Seaga became prime minister of Jamaica.

Its main mandate is to develop, promote and showcase national talent through training, competitions, exhibitions, pageants, parades, and a cadre of other local and national programmes, annually. One of its major activites in the Grand Gala staged on Independence Day.

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