Sat | Sep 26, 2020

Give us a break – entertainment stakeholders

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Ibrahim Konteh
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A group of entertainment industry stakeholders comprising event organisers, food and service providers, performers, DJs, and production groups, is lobbying for concessions in some of the administrative and ancillary fees common in the industry, once the sector reopens. The group stated in a release that the members have been in conversations with several parties, including the Kingston and Portmore parish councils, the Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers(JACAP) and the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS).

“Outside of the kind of fees that come to mind when the everyday person thinks about events and entertainment, there are some fees that we have to pay before we put up the first advertising board,” said Ibrahim Konteh, one of the spokespersons for the group.

As discussions for a safe reopening of the industry build, one request on the table is a waiver on amusement licences and advertising fees from parish councils and corporations, in addition to those from JACAP and JAMMS. “We are looking for pragmatic solutions and ideas that need little to no bureaucratic support and are easy to implement. This is something our local government leaders and the peripheral organisations can do, right now, to help us be in a better place to reopen safely and economically,” Konteh said.

An event pays between $5,000 and $15,000 for place of amusement licences to parish councils, and anywhere from $60,000 and upwards for advertising pre-event, and on the day for branding and infrastructure.

REBUILDING ENTERTAINMENT ECOSYSTEM

However, in an interview with The Gleaner mid-June, chief executive officer (CEO) for the Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS), Evon Mullings, pledged his organisation’s support in building back the entertainment ecosystem which has been ravaged by the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will be able to provide some concessions to event promoters, by way of permit fee discounts, so as to encourage and facilitate the re-emergence of the entertainment scene,” Mulling shared.

As a collecting society and licensing agency, the role of JAMMS is to manage the broadcasting and public performance rights of its members. It involves the granting of licences to music users, including party organisers and show promoters, for which a fee is collected.

“We want to support and facilitate as best as possible, because, if the businesses do not do well, we will not do well,” Mullings said. He added that deferred payment and payment arrangements for multi-year licensees such as clubs, restaurants and bars, are also being facilitated. “Suppliers of goods and services, across the board, may have to do the same so as to help rebuild the sector into one of viability, as it comes back on stream in phases,” he said.