Underscoring the importance of the new Craft Council of Jamaica, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment.
Efforts to establish a central body to coordinate the development of the craft sector took a major leap today as the newly-appointed Craft Council of Jamaica had its inaugural meeting, signaling the commencement of a strategic process to totally streamline the craft sector.
The Council will serve as an interim body and includes representatives of local craft traders and producers as well as other stakeholder groups. These include, the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Ministry of Industry Investment and Commerce, through the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the Ministry of Youth & Culture.
It was emphasized that in recognizing the need to more strategically streamline the industry and increase its contribution to the local economy, Cabinet has endorsed the development of a policy for craft.
The Craft Policy is intended to modernize the sector and has several objectives. Among them is to streamline 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 will also promote greater local identity of finished craft and souvenirs. It will foster innovation, greater regulation, as well as better production and distribution.
State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Damion Crawford expressed that “craft is a very important industry and once we organize it sufficiently and market it effectively then there is no reason why it can’t be a very profitable sector. This Craft Council will help to drive this process and ensure that the various players in the sector have a say in the development of craft overall.”
Chairman of the new Craft Council, Mary Helen Reece said “I feel honored to be asked to Chair this important body and I look forward to working with the various stakeholders in the industry to implement the governance structures and regulations needed to transform the craft industry.”
The craft council is an interim body that will seek to put in place programs to streamline the craft industry, help it realize its full potential and increase its contribution to the economy. It will also develop the legal framework for the establishment and operation of a Craft Authority. It is comprised of representatives of key ministries, agencies, local craft traders and producers as well as other industry stakeholders.