THE Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) may be short on funds, but newly appointed interim Chairman Dr Dennis Howard is determined it remains committed to its mission of enhancing national development through cultural practices.
The JCDC is hosting a month-long of celebration honouring the 94th anniversary of the birth of cultural icon, Louise Bennett Coverley, affectionately called Miss Lou.
The programmes, which started on September 2 and ends on September 26, focuses on the life and work of the Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator.
Performances of Miss Lou's poems and songs as well as a symposium were scheduled for the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre in St Andrew, yesterday.
Awarded Jamaica's third and fourth highest honours — Order of Merit and Order of Jamaica — Miss Lou died on July 26, 2006.
Howard, a lecturer and author, admits the JCDC's concept of hosting events celebrating the lives and contributions of cultural icons and national heroes is nothing new. But he, however, wants more people involved.
"The JCDC has been doing this for years. But we want to kick it into overdrive and get as much coverage as possible, so that more people will become involved in these events," he told the Sunday Observer.
He recognises that the cultural industry can play a very significant role in rescuing the Jamaican economy, if it is given the opportunity to earn from its resources.
"One of the main problems is that the JCDC depends too much on subventions (from the Ministry of Youth and Culture), and it cannot earn revenues like agencies. I am trying to change that, so that the commission can earn some of its revenues," he said.
"I don't know what was the thinking behind how it was set up 50 years ago, but I believe that while that policy might have worked then, it has to be changed now to embrace new developments in marketing and technology," he said.