Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Holness made the revelation while speaking at a ground-breaking for Jamaica’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy in Bernard Lodge St Catherine, on Tuesday and noted that the institution for the arts would be constructed with the aim of empowering young people.

“Yes, there will be a school dedicated to train our upcoming entertainers and deejays and musicians — our visual and creative artists — in the technical and softer points of the entertainment industry, because we believe that that is a space that we own and we can exploit for our economic and social development,” Prime Minister Holness told the gathering.

The STEAM academy, which will be located in Dunbeholden, Bernard Lodge, St Catherine, will be the first of its kind in Jamaica and will be constructed on lands within the Government’s Greater Bernard Lodge Development Plan, which covers close to 5,400 acres.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (center) symbolically marks the land where Jamaica’s first Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy will be built at Dunbeholden in Bernard Lodge, St. Catherine.

The news comes seven months after Holness announced an annual “modern music grant” for Reggae and Dancehall acts to pursue their “professional advancement,” during his contribution to the 2022/2023 Budget Debate in the House of Parliament.

The modern music grant he had said, would ensure that Jamaica “continues its proud legacy of influencing global trends, music, arts and culture.”

At the time he said that the grant would be awarded annually to four Jamaicans one classical, one Reggae and two from the Dancehall space, from the music and entertainment sector to pursue their professional advancement, “whether they are artistes, performers, sound engineer, composers.”

The Prime Minister had also commented on the rise of Afrobeats versus Dancehall and Reggae.   He said that Afrobeats stakeholders had taken a strategic business approach to developing their product, due to them seeing it as, not only culture, but art, creativity and intellectual property that can create wealth, and profit and value, while stakeholders in Reggae and Dancehall, which he described as the root of Afrobeats were not “seeing it in that light”.

Holness, who is the Member of Parliament for St. Andrew West Central, had said he would be working to ensure that a business approach is taken to building the Reggae and Dancehall music genres, by establishing the institutional framework for the purpose.

Additionally, Holness had said that Reggae and Dancehall stakeholders need to reorient their thinking and “see our culture as a business as well that can generate economic growth.”   He had also promised that during this year, he would “spend some time on seeing how the government can develop institutions to support our culture and transform our culture into an economic entity.”

The Prime Minister had also said that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), would be establishing a $500 million entertainment restart facility to guarantee stakeholders institutional access to credit.  He had also said that the loans would be made available on a “commercial basis” and “come with great facilitation” and would help to “bring the informal entertainment sector finally and firmly into the formal sector.”

Where Intellectual Property rights protection was concerned, the Prime Minister had said that he had received numerous proposals from people in the music and entertainment sector regarding “specific support, to protect the producers and creators of music such as improvements to intellectual property, trademarks and copyright registration”.

However, he had said that those would be addressed at a “later date” after he and Entertainment Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange study the proposals, after which they would partner with the sectors.

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