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Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett has announced that the island’s craft industry is set to benefit from a major boost with the establishment of a Craft Development Institute (CDI), which will not only aim to reduce the mass importation of Jamaican-branded souvenirs but also increase business opportunities for local craftsmen.
This announcement was made during a contract signing on July 11 at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices between the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and consulting firm Zyacom Limited, who have been hired to complete the Business Case for the establishment of the CDI.
Speaking at the signing, Minister Bartlett shared that “the CDI is not just a promise but a deliverable on an important vision that we have to empower our creative resources to enable a stronger, richer, more autochthonous, yet more desirable product that will be opinionated and will strengthen brand Jamaica. More importantly it will form the basis of entrepreneurship and provide the framework for more jobs to be created and for income to be derived.”
The Business Case, which will be prepared within the next three months, is expected to detail the capacity of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC) to fulfil the requirements of the CDI, while keeping the needs of the students and craftsmen in mind. It will also provide the Ministry with expert advice on the skills training gaps as well as the financial and organizational requirements necessary to ensure the institute’s sustainability.
Once established, the CDI will provide training and certification to current craft producers, supporting the development of authentic Jamaican craft and protecting new designs. It will also aid in showcasing and marketing the work of local fine artists, photographers and craft producers to tourism stakeholders such as hoteliers and restaurateurs.
Minister Bartlett has also disclosed that a major goal of the institute is to ensure greater economic impact of the craft industry. It will, therefore, serve to reduce the mass importation of souvenirs which has caused severe leakage of much-needed foreign exchange.
“The people that come to Jamaica do not want anything made from other countries, they want authentic Jamaican products. So, to address this we have placed tremendous focus on enhancing our human capital, through institutes such as the CDI, to ensure there is greater capacity to create a unique yet authentic Jamaican experience for our visitors,” said Bartlett.
He also said that his Ministry will be working closely with the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO) to ensure that the enhancement of the authenticity of the locally-produced craft items remains a priority.
Sharing the role of the Edna Manley College in the establishment of the CDI, Vice Principal Carol Hamilton explained that they have appointed a lead person to assist with the training of the artisans.
“We will be working very closely with the TPDCo to carry out our mandate of creating a training program. It is a delightful moment for us at the Edna Manley College because it has been one of our mainstream discussions in terms of how we can impact the products in the tourism industry,” said Hamilton.
The CDI is expected to welcome its first students in September 2018 at a central location in St Ann.
PHOTO: Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett (second right) witnesses the contract to complete the Business Case for the establishment of the Craft Development Institute (CDI) on July 11, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices. Sharing in the moment are (seated, from left) Vice Principal of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Carol Hamilton; Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Dr. Andrew Spencer; and Consultant and Team Leader from Zyacom Limited, Mr Wesley Vanriel. The signing was also overseen by TPDCo’s Coordinator of the CDI project, Carol Rose Brown (standing left) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Jennifer Griffith. Once established, the CDI will provide training and certification to current craft producers, supporting the development of authentic Jamaican craft and protect new designs. It is expected to welcome its first students in September 2018 at a central location in St. Ann.
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