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Gov’t Lack Of Support For Reggae Month 2012?

‘Reggae treated unfairly’

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LACK of commitment by the government was a sore point brought out at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association’s (JARIA) press conference at the Bob Marley Museum in St Andrew yesterday.

“If reggae is seen as a bright vibrant music, why is it being treated like this? This is our country,” said Freddie McGregor at the function.

McGregor was speaking against the background that the upcoming Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival had attracted $60 million in sponsorship from the Tourism Ministry/Jamaica Tourist Board while JARIA had got a paltry $1.2 million in support for the Reggae Month activities.

“How can $1.2 million stage Reggae Month, is that possible?” asked McGregor. “That definitely cannot do it, so we are in big trouble here. The big question is whether we can actually keep Reggae Month.”

Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, chairman of the JARIA board, stressed that he was not “fighting against the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival” as he supported all festivals but pointed to the serious disparity in support.

“It’s unbalanced,” he said.

According to Cooper he is disappointed in light of the fact that “a large amount of the money given to the jazz festival will be exported by those who pay taxes overseas.”

The press conference not only saw the airing of issues. There was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between JARIA and the directors of Reggae Sun Ska Festival a company out of France. A move intended to build a better corporation between the Jamaica music industry and festivals in Europe.

— Cecelia Campbell-Livingston

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