Mixed responses to $90-million entertainment package
Mixed responses continue to emerge from the entertainment industry following the Government's announcement that a $90-million special support package will be allocated to members of the entertainment, culture and creative industries who were affected by the COVID pandemic.
In a press release, Entertainment Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange said 1,000 people will receive grants of $60,000 each, via an online application process with specific eligibility criteria.
Sound system veteran Jack Scorpio made his application on Saturday.
"I can't say I don't support it (the initiative) because really and truly, things are not that lovely," Scorpio told THE STAR. "The thing (pandemic) really destroy the industry, it destroy the whole atmosphere of our industry. Me is a sound man; me is a man weh like go out there and play, and it really damaging. Two year and odd now is not easy, so any likkle thing we get, we haffi just seh if a deh so it deh, a just so."
The entertainment sector was shut down in March 2020 after Jamaica recorded its first few cases of the novel coronavirus. It was twice reopened under strict guidelines, but has been shut down since August as the Government has branded entertainment events fertile ground for the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Reggae and dancehall artiste Bramma said that the incentive is a drop in the bucket, and lamented the impact that the lockdown measures had on the entertainment sector.
Bramma said for "stage show artistes" who are used to bringing in at least $150,000 per event, in addition to income from dubplates, the $60,000 grant will be regarded as insufficient. However, he said many artistes of this calibre have fallen on hard times financially during the pandemic, though some will not admit it. For this, he sees the usefulness of the grant.
He added that newer artistes can also benefit.
"Mi still grateful, because things have slowed down because of the pandemic, so people start listen to real music now. So yuh find seh some real talent a buss now. With that said, you a go find some youth w nah mek a dollar, so $60,000 a big money to them."