Jamaica’s entertainment sector has been among the most hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. But unlike many other industries which have also suffered losses, the entertainment industry has remained closed and its workers have not received assistance from the government.
This has forced many Jamaican promoters to move their events to South Florida, a tri-county region heavily populated with Caribbean nationals.
During a recent sitting of parliament, Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressed stakeholders in the industry. He says that while he understands that entertainment is a business, parties are still ground-zero for COVID-19.
“This government does not see entertainment as only fun. We understand that entertainment is an industry; it is a business for many; they have invested heavily in their business. It is the reality; it is the proven fact that the gatherings that happen at parties are usually the ground zero of spread and we have tried to find ways within the public health science to accommodate these kinds of events and gatherings,” he added.
Prime Minister Holness says that his government plans to invest in dancehall and the entertainment industry. He says that this will start with financial aid to those that have been hit hard by the closure of the sector.
“Dancehall is being hijacked. Other people are taking our music and making more money off it because the people who are carrying the music not seeing the economic value in the music,” Holness said.
“We understand the hurt and suffering. Many have lost significant resources, so we are going to have to make an allocation. I do plan to call in the leaders of the industry … We want to have an engagement because we see our music and our culture as a part of our economic recovery,” he added.
Holness added that the government would also assist in the rebound of the industry through investments in proper infrastructure. He has promised to create venues or halls where parties can be held freely without disturbance.