It was a historic moment, grouping all carnival events under one umbrella, which will be marketed by both Ministries and the Jamaica Tourist Board as a party season, similar to Reggae Month.
According to Kamal Bankay, chairman of the Sports & Entertainment Network in the Ministry of Entertainment, the leaders of all four carnival parades and operators of over 30 soca fetes will work together to enhance and bring better structure to the entertainment season that marks Jamaica’s calendar each year. Time, money and energy will now be invested to make carnival in Jamaica a world-class product.
“Carnival is a great product that we have… We’re going to put on a huge road parade with four bands, and this is important as the spectacle will probably be one of the biggest ever seen in a long time, with the hope of growing it exponentially in the next three to five years to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in the Caribbean,” he said.
Julianne Lee, managing director of Jamaica Carnival, welcomes the move being made by the Ministries, its Ministers and the committee spearheaded by Lenford Salmon and Bankay.
“I’m happy to be a part of brand Carnival in Jamaica, I wish my dad (Byron Lee) was here to see his dream evolved. He was instrumental in bringing carnival to the country and every carnival event that has developed since, is as a result of his influence. This is an amazing product that can provide job creation in the manufacturing of the costumes here in Jamaica, grow our economy and cause more tourists to visit Jamaica, so I welcome it!” Lee said.
Minister of Entertainment, Culture, Gender and Sport, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, is grateful to Byron Lee, who she took time to single out as the driving force behind carnival in Jamaica.
“We have to be quite grateful to the work that Byron Lee did to bring carnival to Jamaica. We are living his dream. I can remember being on the road with him, those days fill me with pride. We are creating a season that will have positive spin offs for our country, our economy and our people. Building Brand Jamaica is of utmost importance and this will help to propel us even further,” the Minister noted.
“It is a committee (Sports and Entertainment Network) that brings everybody together so that we’re more focused in what we do. And we can plan in a structured way and budget in a structured way and promote the showcase in an organized way… It ensures proper standards and ensures funding. So we’ve brought all the stakeholders together; they’ll work together and we’ll market them as a package,” she continued.
Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett said he was pleased to be part of the initiative.
“As an island destination, we must unearth and develop the various musical experiences that make the visitors want to travel to the island to enjoy themselves and spend while doing so,” Bartlett said.
FEATURED PHOTO: (from left) Kamal Bankay,chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Network; Julianne Lee, managing director of Jamaica Carnival; Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism; and Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Gender, Entertainment and Sports, in discussion at the launch of Carnival in Jamaica.