Portfolio Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said the establishment of the Council was very significant, “as it signals the commencement of a strategic process to totally streamline the craft industry.”
He explained that the Council will act as a central body to “coordinate the push to oversee the development of the craft sector in its entirety and monitor the quality of the items produced and sold as authentic Jamaican craft.”
Dr. McNeill said that the Council will also play a pivotal role in overseeing the development of the Craft policy, which is intended to modernise the sector.
Among the objectives of the craft policy is streamlining the sector by facilitating incremental improvements in areas such as quality, variety, customer satisfaction and profits to the entire industry.
It also seeks to facilitate the sustainable growth of the craft industry and promote greater local identity of finished craft and souvenirs. It will foster innovation, greater regulation, as well as better production and distribution.
He noted that while craft is a very important industry and one which has the potential of becoming a major growth sector, there are many long-standing issues, “which we must resolve, in order to effectively develop the sector and harness its potential.”
Dr. McNeill pointed out that prime among these issues is the need to implement a proper governance structure and regulatory framework.
“Given the fact that there are multiple state bodies with oversight for craft, as well as the largely informal structures that exist, it is important for us to take a strategic and holistic approach to the management of craft,” he said.
The Minister said the Council would play an integral role in this regard, as its main objective will be to create an effective governance, operational, technical and infrastructural framework that will strengthen the craft sector and facilitate sales, promotion and marketing of craft, both locally and internationally.
Stakeholder groups represented on the Council include: the Port Authority of Jamaica; Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce; Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment; Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); and Ministry of Youth and Culture.
“I am pleased to say that we have pulled together a team of experienced individuals and I am confident that under the leadership of the Chair, Mary Helen Reece, you will effectively address the issues that have been plaguing the sector for decades,” the Minister said.
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