Cooke at JCDC helm
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter email@example.com
ASTON Cooke, newly installed chairman of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), is prepared to hit the ground running.
A theatre practitioner, Cooke was promoted to chairman on January 24 following the resignation of Dr Dennis Howard. He has served on the board of the JCDC for nearly two years.
Howard was appointed chairman in 2013. His successor looks forward to making an impact.
"I am elated with this assignment and look forward to guiding the work of the JCDC and delivering on the goals set by the ministry," Cooke told the Jamaica Observer.
His appointment comes at a time when there are major changes on the horizon for the JCDC's premier showcase — the annual Festival and Independence celebrations which run August 1-6.
He revealed that, this year, festival activities will be somewhat different with the various agencies attached to the Culture Ministry joining forces to celebrate Independence.
"Agencies such as the Institute of Jamaica, The CPTC [Creative Production and Training Centre] and JNHT [Jamaica National Heritage Trust] will be sharing the spotlight this year. All these agencies will be on show and the JCDC will be charged with managing the activities," Cooke said.
He strongly believes that his long association with the JCDC will stand him in good stead as he looks to the road ahead.
"What I bring to the job is really an intangible quality. I consider myself a child of Festival. It started from my days at the All Saints Primary School in Jones Town and continued during my years at Wolmer's (high school)... I participated in almost all the categories. This gives me a real understanding of the process and what is required," he explained. "In addition, my background in professional theatre productions will help me with the management of things."
A playwright, Cooke is the recipient of nine Actor Boy Awards. His works include Jamaica 2 Rahtid, River Mumma and the Golden Table, Single Entry and Internet Affair.