Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern Lisa Hanna is calling on the Government to dedicate more resources to transform the country’s cultural teaching framework and establish more competitive cultural arts institutions.
She noted that the capital budget for the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sports was the lowest of all the ministries, with only J$3.7 million or 3.7 per cent of the budget allocated to the ministry.
“We must allocate more resources to build out the framework to transform the cultural teaching framework within our school system with a sustained capital budget to fund harnessing, developing, and strengthening the cultural value chain of our people’s lives rather than the focus on spending primarily on celebratory activities,” said Hanna.
She was speaking during her contributions to the 2023-2024 Sectoral Debate yesterday (May 16).
The member of Parliament said that by allocating more resources to cultural arts, children will develop artistic skill training that would strengthen their Jamaican identity and build the brand Jamaica.
“We must also give the necessary tools in primary schools to train our children in the cultural arts, painting, sculpting, photography, dance, and formal music training. And construct two globally competitive performance/creative arts-based high schools, one in Kingston and the other in the West, with the attendant boarding facilities to rival some of the best in the world,” said Hanna.
She noted that the last significant investments made in the cultural performance space were the establishment of the Ward and Little Theatre in 1912 and 1958. However, the buildings are both located in the corporate area.
“It’s time to press reset, to be courageous, and move away from doing the temporary assignments of what’s popular to do what’s right. If we fail, our indigenous and intrinsic cultural footprint on the world may wash away with another’s tide,” said the member of Parliament.