Prime Minister Andrew Holness has lashed out against the violence-laced music being produced in Jamaica in recent years, stating that it is degrading the island's culture.
The prime minister also hailed roots reggae artiste Chronixx for producing violence-free music and said government will pay more attention to the creative arts to ensure the quality of the culture is maintained.
“In the last few decades, our music has been overtaken by violence...By (the music) we are producing we are devaluing our culture which is a very important asset for our economic development," Holness said on Tuesday.
He was addressing the opening of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference where Chronixx, backed by acoustic guitar, performed a few of his songs, including “Majesty” and “I Can.”
Commenting on the state of Jamaica’s music today, the prime minister noted “Chronixx came and he sang and not one of his lyrics had to do with anything about violence. He is one of my favourites...I listen to him all the time”.
Holness said Jamaica’s music had become “anthems for progressive thinking, freedom and resistance” and had elevated the country in the eyes of the world. However, he said “serious work needs to be done in our creative industries so that we can produce works of arts that are edifying and uplifting to the society.”
The prime minister said the government would pay attention to Jamaica’s cultural product even as it focused on the country’s digital infrastructure, laws and training in an effort to make Jamaica “the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean”.
Holness called on Jamaicans to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, noting that government was putting in place broadband internet infrastructure, the new National Identification System (NIDS) bill, training in coding skills and plans to build six Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) schools as components to taking advantage of future investments and jobs.
The JSE Conference was opened on Tuesday in-person in Kingston as well as virtually under the theme “Re-structuring, Restoring, and Renewing: Re-Connecting the Pillars of Capital Markets”.