The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says creative practitioners such as musicians, dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, among others, must prepare themselves for retirement and death.
The Minister’s comments were made at a seminar on ‘Estate Planning, Financing and Pensions’, organised by the Ministry and held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Wednesday.
Minister Grange said the seminar was the Ministry’s response to the longstanding debates around artiste well-being and insurance protection for entertainment practitioners.
“This is a concrete step to provide education and the tools for creative persons who do not work 9 to 5 and who have variable seasons of work to secure their families’ future by planning smartly,” said Minister Grange.
Between 2016 and 2017 a number of entertainers and culture practitioners passed away in an “impoverished state” or without having a will, prompting the Ministry to set aside “special funds for support of indigent and ailing artistes”.
Minister Grange said the Ministry had begun work on developing an Entertainment Wellbeing Fund to support the industry, similar to what has been done for athletes.
“In my years as a practitioner, one of the most painful things was to see an artiste/artist who had given his or her life to performance – whether in music, dance, visual art or other creative fields – die in an impoverished state. As such, I’ve spent a number of years contemplating what government ought to do to rectify this situation and what individual associations and individuals should do to assist themselves,” Minister Grange said.
According to her, since 2017 the Ministry spent close to one million dollars on artiste wellbeing, including support to ailing artistes and assistance with funeral expenses.
Minister Grange said that the support was not given for publicity but because it was important to do so. She also urged representatives from the various industry associations to encourage their members to make their wills in order to prevent confusion after death.
The seminar included presentations from the National Insurance Scheme, Administrator General’s Department, Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates among other entities.