Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is making a move to provide protection for what is considered one of the island’s most indigenous music forms, reggae.
In his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives recently, State Minister Damian Crawford stated that his ministry was working with the ministries of Investment and Commerce, Youth and Culture and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) in preparing a Cabinet submission towards the objective.
Crawford further said that reggae can be protected under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. He also made note that the move was similar to the initiatives by Argentina and Uruguay in relation to the ‘tango’ which was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. It was done on the basis that , “the tango is a musical genre that includes dance, music, poetry and singing, and is considered one of the main manifestations of identity for the inhabitants of the Río de la Plata region”.
Crawford noted that UNESCO’s formal recognition of reggae as a traditional cultural art form of Jamaican origin would better assist the island in maintaining control over the definition, recognition and identity of the musical form. He said, “This would protect the reggae genre and have the effect of ensuring that more of the economic wealth, moral rights, trade mark and geographically-linked benefits, flowing from the use of, indication or designation reggae, would be retained in and with Jamaica.”
His hope is to help to attract more visitors to the Jamaica who wish to make a pilgrimage to the ‘Mecca’ of authentic reggae.