Jamaica is set to begin a competition to find a Festival Song for this year. The announcement was made by Culture Minister Olivia Grange CD during the recent Jamaica Diaspora Conference., with competitors’ entries to be accepted over a one-week period. Minister Grange said that she was using her music industry network in order to get producers, song writers and performers on board, to come up with 10 songs that are “of the highest quality”, as she described.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) had advised the Ministry of Culture to cancel the annual Festival Song competition due to the poor quality of the more than 120 entries. The matter was deliberated at Cabinet after Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that he would intervene to find a solution due to concern about the absence of a song to celebrate Jamaica 60.
Responding to the news that the competition will be held, Opposition Leader Mark Golding said: “The government and Minister Grange in particular, have salvaged the situation".
Speaking during the Jamaica Diaspora Conference, Mr Golding said there is a wider concern that the poor quality of entries reflects the weakness of Jamaicans in the area of culture. He argued that this is an indictment on the country, especially in such an important year of Jamaica's independence.