Gov't names first entertainment zone

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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FORT Rocky, an abandoned fort located on the Palisadoes strip near Port Royal, has been chosen as Jamaica's first entertainment zone.

Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange, made the announcement at Thursday's press launch for Carnival in Jamaica, a partnership between the ministries of culture and tourism, to promote Jamaica's carnival season which kicks off November 11 with the launch of Xaymaca International.

Grange said that Fort Rocky was endorsed by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) as well as the Town and Country Planning Authority.

“We are working with the environment and planning agency and the ministry's agencies, including the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, to ensure that our cultural heritage sites are preserved and utilised in a manner that derives cultural and economic value to us as a nation,” she said.

She pointed out that the entertainment zones are defined as “concentrated night life districts occupying the margins of downtowns, in former commercial and industrial areas, underutilised retail corridors or underdeveloped waterfronts”.

She noted that in the United States, entertainment zones are usually located within urban sprawls, similar to Jamaica's pilot proposal to erect entertainment zones within the central downtown Kingston district.

Former minister of state for entertainment Damion Crawford first announced plans for the opening up of the entertainment zones in 2013, after show promoters and other entertainment industry stakeholders raised issues about holding events without fear of being shut down prematurely by the police.

The promoters argued that it had been difficult for them to function under the Noise Abatement Act, which limits events to up to midnight on weekdays, and until 2 am on weekends.

Grange noted that the global creative economy is a US$2.5-trillion industry that never slows down.

“It is a 24-hour industry and, as such, we must develop the systems and the mechanism to enable its ordered growth and development in Jamaica,” she said.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, the other guest speaker at the function, also welcomed the development, noting that Jamaica has long been known for its musical entertainment.

He said that with the effort to combine the local carnival events, Jamaica could now boast of having a carnival of its own that measures up to any other in the Caribbean.

He said that it is against that background that his ministry acquired the Carnival in Jamaica brand; in keeping with its mandate to enhance seasonal events, including carnival, the Tourism Linkages Network through its sports and entertainment network, agreed that investment in an overarching brand to promote the local carnival experience was critical.

He said that the launch of Carnival in Jamaica 2018 signalled that the country was taking it seriously, and is determined that it should become as well known and widely supported as other carnivals which attract thousands of visitors.

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