Hanna wants more investment in creative industry
Former Culture Minister Lisa Hanna is calling for greater investment that will help Jamaicans to enhance our local cultural and creative industries.
Hanna was speaking at the launch event of RuJohn Foundation's 20th year of outreach at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Sunday. The foundation is headed by US-born YouTuber and comedian Andrew 'King Bach' Bachelor, whose parents are Jamaicans. He conducts yearly workshops to help Jamaican students tap into their creative and sporting talents.
"These kinds of programmes are integral, important and they pay if forward," Hanna said, while praising the innate creativity of Jamaicans.
"Jamaica has a powerful culture. There's over seven billion people that make up the [world's] population, but we punch way above our weight class, and our culture is so potent. The problem is we have not really streamlined or synchronised or invested the type of efforts we need to to have formal training from basic school, right the way forward," she said.
Hanna, who was also Miss World 1993, continued, "We don't have the performance-based high schools, we're not incentivising business. We're not incentivising the creatives to really go on the world stage and compete. It happens by accident because of the sheer talent that we have. And so, in terms of moving forward, I believe and I know that one, any government that is in power has to be able to devote the same budget that it does for tourism and other industries to the culture and creative industry."
According to current Culture Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Jamaica's creative sector generated approximately US$2.2 billion in earnings in the last financial year, this after members of the sector were allocated $31 million of the tourism budget.
Hanna noted that many young people have benefited from RuJohn "in unexplainable ways".
"One of the things about the Jamaican community is that Jamaicans always pay it forward. Certainly from where I sit, not only is it important for me to say thank you, by showing presence to people like Ingrid [Bachelor's mother] and her family, and the persons who come to volunteer their services and their time to Jamaica, but also to show the gratitude that we all have for the financial contributions they make to students," she said.