KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, has declared that his Ministry and its agencies are placing greater emphasis on the development of creative talents within the craft and fine arts sector to further develop the industry.
Minister Bartlett, who was speaking at the Recognition and Awards Ceremony for the Organization of American States (OAS), Tourism, Product Development Company (TPDCo) Craft Enhancement Project, which was held yesterday (July 12), announced that plans are in place for the completion of the first artisan village to aid in efforts to limit the volume of imported craft items that are being sold in the industry. “The facility, which will be located in Falmouth, is set to be operational within this fiscal cycle and the designs for two others in Port Antonio and Negril are already being done,” Minister Bartlett said.
The artisan villages will be one-stop-shop facilities where visitors can see the creation and merchandising of craft items, while enjoying authentic Jamaican entertainment and leisure activities. It will also provide an avenue for Jamaican artists and craftsmen to expose and express their creativity by producing unique indigenous items, thus, limiting the volume of imported craft items that are being sold in the industry.
The Minister also announced that the Ministry is in the process of developing an Institute of Craft, to further develop a competitive and productive workforce that can benefit from opportunities in the tourism industry.
“We are going to be working with the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and we want to develop a relationship with them as we build out the institute of craft. I’ve already had discussions with the UDC in terms of the construction of the actual building which I expect to be ready and operational by 2018,” said Minister Bartlett.
The Recognition and Awards Ceremony, was hosted at the New Kingston Business Centre and honoured some 180 artisans who successfully completed training in all the programmes conducted under the initiative. They were trained in developing craft items using various media such as fibre, textile, recycled material, bamboo, and papier mache. Assessments of craft products were done by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).