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Jamaica: Gov’t calls for special treatment for artistes when travelling abroad

March 3, 2023

CMC – Government is seeking special treatment from host countries for Jamaican creatives and cultural professionals when they travel abroad, according to Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange.

Noting that the ability of artistes to travel to countries to ply their trade is fundamental to the growth and development of the culture and entertainment sectors of Jamaica: “I would like to seek the support of developed countries by requesting that there be established, maybe a two-year moratorium during which travel of artistes, cultural professionals and practitioners to Europe may be facilitated through preferential instruments and systems.”

“It is also vital that this facilitation includes the movement of goods and services,” she told diplomats at a ministerial briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

The briefing was part of this week’s Diplomatic Week 2023 activities, held under the theme ‘Transcending Borders. Strengthening Partnerships. Advancing Development’.

Citing the 2005 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Grange pointed to Article 16 of the Convention, which states that developed countries shall facilitate cultural exchanges with developing countries by granting, through their appropriate institutional and legal frameworks, preferential treatment to artistes and other cultural professionals and practitioners as well as cultural goods and services from developing countries.

Minister Grange also mentioned a recent increase of visa fees which she said has affected entertainers.

She did not identify the country.

“It has seriously impacted on our entertainers travelling to a particular country, and I’m hoping that we will be able to overcome that serious roadblock because everybody in the world loves our music,” the Culture Minister said.

She said her ministry will continue to work with the creative industries in Jamaica, “to reset them for growth and to seek the support and partnerships with all our international partners”.

Earlier this week, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith said her ministry was continuing to advocate for special visas, such as Touring Visas for entertainers, to be accommodated by the European market.

Speaking in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, she said that under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), the Ministry continues to be engaged in bilateral meetings on the matter.

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