Jamaican Government to take tough stance against lewd and violent music

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaican government will be taking a tough stance on lewd and violent music, and will put in place the resources needed to effect and enforce the necessary changes, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, has said.

“We are going to find a way to deal with the nastiness that is out there. And if it is some law that needs to be changed, let us prepare the legislation and go to Parliament and change it. If it is some resources that we have to find then, as tough as things are, make us find it, because we cannot afford to allow this assault not only on our music, but on our psyche and our identity as a people, to continue,” Mr. Golding stated.

The Prime Minister was speaking Sunday night (February 8)) at the Reggae Month reception, at Jamaica House, for music industry players, including artistes, producers, songwriters, music promoters and sound system operators.

“I want a sit down this week, let us put together a programme, let us put together an enforcement mechanism, let us deal with it, because our music is too valuable, it is too important to us for it to be compromised in this way,” he added.

Mr. Golding, however, made it clear that his government was not trying to censor artistic expression.

PM Golding poses with members of the popular group-TOK, at a Reggae Month reception he hosted for players in the music industry yesterday at Jamaica House.

“We are going to have to confront some challenges, because music in a sense has to be free, artistic expression cannot be controlled, filtered or programmed and, therefore, musicians have to be free to express themselves. Artistic expression is something that comes from deep within. It is something that is so often defined and determined by one’s own particular experience and, therefore, it is something that needs to be encouraged, but, there must be parameters,” he said.

“We must set some parameters, and we must be prepared to ostracize those who step beyond the boundaries of what is descent and uplifting. Freedom of expression must be used to do good, to do right, to uplift, to inspire and to make Jamaica a better place,” he added.

Shifting focus to the overall goals of Reggae Month (RM), Mr. Golding said that the month was launched to celebrate achievements in music, the artistes who have carried the music and those who have helped to hone it and to bring it to the maturity that it enjoys today.

“We want to celebrate the international recognition that Reggae has earned, and we want to focus on the music itself: what it has done for Jamaica but, perhaps more importantly, what more it can do,” he said.

Mr. Golding also took the opportunity to re-emphasize that, despite the fact that the government has not been able to put more resources and energy into Reggae Month this year, due to financial constrains, the commitment still remained to make it a month when the country can showcase to the world all that is Reggae and Jamaican.

Reggae Month 2009 continues on Tuesday (February 10) with the annual Bob Marley Lecture at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

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