Artisan Natalie Garrick of the Windsor community in St. Mary allows Hon. Min. Edmund Bartlett to examine the bamboo hairpiece in her braids. The bamboo craft piece was a product of the Windsor Community segment of the OAS Craft Enhancement project staged across the island. Min. Bartlett addressed graduates at the Awards and Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at the culmination of the over two year programme.
Kingston Jamaica, July, 14, 2016 – As part of efforts to develop the island’s craft industry some 180 craft producers have been equipped with skills to enhance the island’s craft output. The craft producers, who were trained under the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo), Organization of American States (OAS) Craft Enhancement Project, graduated at a Recognition and Awards ceremony at the New Kingston Business Centre on July 12, 2016.
To date Jamaica has trained just over half of the three hundred artisans from the Caribbean who have been educated under the regional programme, equipping them with the requisite skills to compete for a share of the $87 billion global market for creative exports currently produced in the Americas.
Participants in the programme were empowered through craft skills upgrading workshops and business planning training in mixed media including bamboo, straw, and textile.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said that the venture marked “a key step on the path towards enhanced creativity, growth and job creation. The training of craft traders will also expand the network of local producers who can benefit from the tourism sector through the Tourism Linkages Network and other initiatives.”
The success of the capacity building aspect of the project was also highlighted as after participating, local craftsmen would be able to sell their craft and build sustainable livelihoods. Simultaneously, they would now be able to provide visitors to craft markets with high quality authentic Jamaican products and reduce the dependence on imports.
In her report, Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel, Director of the OAS Country Office in Jamaica also stated that of the over 50 new product lines coming out of this region – Jamaica created 21 product lines certified for the International market. They came out of a total of 70 product lines selected for assessment by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) under the project.
Also of particular interest to artisans and other business interests is the development of a Virtual Resource Centre (VRC) as part of the initiative. When completed the site will facilitate purchases of craft items through the online catalogue, provide videos and manuals demonstrating how to produce craft and afford access to information on craftsmen in the Artisan database.
The presentation of the VRC served to underscore Minister Bartlett’s appeal to local artisans to subscribe to the prescribed formula for success, which he posited was consistency and authenticity. He said “our craft items must be made in Jamaica, not made in Taiwan or made in China, so that the visitors can take them home as a memento of their time spent in Jamaica.”