Gov't wants Reggae on UNESCO's list


February 12, 2016
Contributed Dr Janice Lindsay

The Ministry of Youth and Culture is moving to have reggae inscribed on the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This according to principal director, Culture and Creative Industries Policy Division, Dr Janice Lindsay, at the Jamaica Music Museum's (JAMM) Grounation event at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall, downtown Kingston, last Sunday.

The event is part of activities to mark the annual Reggae/Black History Month. It was the first of four scheduled to take place each Sunday in February at the IOJ under the theme, 'Ungle Malungu Man: Musings on Don Drummond'.

Dr Lindsay said the ministry has set up a committee to prepare the documents expected to be submitted in March 2017.

"We have so far had one meeting. It has been a robust meeting. Essentially, the discussions have been about how we describe reggae when we put forward that nomination file," she said, adding that the global appeal of reggae is the reason it should be inscribed on UNESCO's list. "We need to protect that distinctive history of reggae as an intangible heritage, and we need to do this before someone else presents the elements in some other form as theirs."

Dr Lindsay said the move would have far more bearing on future generations.

"They are the ones ... 50 years from now, they would not have forgiven us if they lived to read in bits and pieces that there was a music emanating from our country and that it was lost over time because there was no proof of the origin and distinctiveness being uniquely Jamaican," she said.

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