JAMAICA’S CULTURAL and creative industries has been thrown a lifeline in the form of a stimulus package for COVID-19 relief. This is available for individuals and businesses which are registered with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport (MCGES).
This was announced last Thursday by portfolio Minister Olivia Grange while speaking on an online lyme organised by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) in collaboration with the British Council. Hosted by the deputy chief executive officer at the JBDC, Harold Davis, under the theme ‘Virtualising Your Business’, it was the first in a series of virtual events that the JBDC is mounting to stay connected with its stakeholders during the pandemic.
Pointing out that “the global pandemic has brought Jamaica’s vibrant cultural and economic life almost to a standstill,” largely because gatherings of over 10 persons have been banned, Grange declared, “We are in uncharted waters, and recovery will take tremendous cooperation.”
She said the MCGES had conducted a survey in the last few days to ascertain the loss of income experienced in the industry thus far. The more than 200 responses received, she said, indicated that the loss was over $100 million. The ministry is now exploring ways to offer assistance to the creative industry and plans to set up virtual town hall meetings to share information on initiatives that can be introduced over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, she said, ‘creatives’ (individuals and companies) should get registered on the MCGES entertainment and creative industries registry.
Those not yet registered can sent an email to either MCGES.gov.jm or . The benefits that flow from registration, which is necessary for obtaining what she termed “necessary permits”, include access to the stimulus package for COVID-19 relief and also to incentives such as Productive Inputs Relief (PIR). It also facilitates securing skill certificates, which are used across CARICOM countries and provides access to recommendation letters.
Grange said that the MCGES “will provide assistance to all those in the creative industry and cultural landscape to facilitate streamlining and formalising the entities within the industry”.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, congratulated the many creative persons who have been taking their talent to the virtual space.
The lyme featured presentations by a panel of four entrepreneurs and questions and comments by a diverse group of persons. Davis said that the members of the mainly female group were involved in a wide range of occupations, generally owned their own businesses, and were between the ages of 35 and 54.
Another lyme in the series, titled ‘The JBDC In Concert’, is scheduled to take place this Thursday.