More of the island’s heritage sites are being upgraded in a bid to showcase the country’s rich history.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the work includes infrastructural improvements and erection of storyboards and general signage.
“The culture agencies of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Institute of Jamaica under the Ministry’s portfolio have been charged as a matter of priority to ensure that more of our sites are functional and operating at world-class standards,” she noted.
The Minister was speaking at the official launch of the Health, Home and Garden Expo at the National Arena in Kingston on Thursday (October 26).
She said there continues to be insufficient knowledge of Jamaica’s history and culture among the youth population, adding that many of the values that the older population grew up with and treasured are being pushed aside for foreign alternatives.
“Do we celebrate Halloween more than we celebrate Heroes Day. Is Emancipation Day just a picnic holiday or a time to consider as many aspects as possible of the history of slavery before and since that date,” she questioned.
As such, she said that appropriate spaces in major towns will be created to facilitate cultural performances, and the culture passport programme has been expanded to enrich the knowledge and experience of Jamaicans.
The culture passport programme provides free or reduced-cost access to heritage sites; cultural institutions such as museums, galleries, theatres; and special cultural performances.
Beneficiaries include students, members of community-based organisations and churches, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and other special-interest groups.
“The passport invites Jamaicans from an early age to become ‘dry-land tourists’ in their own country. The same heritage that we invite visitors from abroad to experience must be so familiar to us that we become tour guides for our own children, our families and for our people,” Ms. Grange said.
In the meantime, she informed that work has commenced towards securing Port Royal’s inclusion on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) list of World Heritage sites.
Minister Grange commended the organisers of the Health, Home and Garden Expo for staging an event that highlights the country’s culture while promoting the importance of wellness.
“Your concern with lifestyle matters that impact all areas of life and that have a strong focus on arts, culture, and heritage is recognised as being of fundamental value to us as a people. It makes you one of those solid Jamaican institutions… devoted to promoting what is good for Jamaica as a country, what is good about Jamaica and what is good for the lives of its citizens,” she said.
Event Coordinator, Fay Wint, encouraged Jamaicans to come out for a fun-filled experience. She noted that there will be live entertainment, artist and children villages, give-a-ways, beautiful exhibits, talks and demonstrations.
The Health, Home and Garden Expo 2017 runs from Friday (October 27) to Sunday (October 29) at the National Arena. Gates are open 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.