Let's talk

Mayor open to dialogue on commercial use of crest

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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Kingston's mayor, Delroy Williams is open to the possibility of the crest of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Council (KSAMC) being used on merchandise for commercial purposes, but stressed that the proper dialogue and administrative procedures would have to be observed by all parties.

His comments come against the furore caused after American rapper Kanye West and his team began selling merchandise including caps, T-shirts and sweatshirts which all bore a number of national symbols following his pop-up religious performance, Sunday Service, held in Emancipation Park last Friday.

Speaking specifically to the KSAMC's crest which was among the symbols on the clothing worn by West and his 100-plus mass choir and later sold via the Internet, the mayor noted that he had no problem with them wearing it on stage, as he felt it promoted the city to a wide, international audience through the live streaming of the event online.

“The use of the KSAMC crest and logo by the choir and Kanye West himself while performing on stage is not inconsistent with how we use it now. We use it to promote the city. We have our own shirts. We have many shirts that we have made for various programmes and promotions and we have given them away to promote the city. This was a gospel concert, and worn by a gospel choir so it would not have been inconsistent or unusual because it is something that we have been doing,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“There is a procedure that you should follow if you are going to use the images, but we did not have a problem giving authorisation for specific usage of these images in a promotional way. I believe that we would have benefited as a city and the reach for a choir of that nature wearing a shirt with the KSAMC crest is good, it promotes the city as a tourist destination. The commercial use of it is something that we have never done before. I'm not going to say it is something that we would never consider. I will say if that is going to be done there will have to be serious conversation with the municipality,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the authorities including the KSAMC received a fair amount of flack after it was revealed that the event was given the green light with hours. Local event promoters were among those criticising the municipality, accusing it of showing preference to West and his team.

Mayor Williams rubbished those claims, pointing out that the fast track afforded to West is something that is done for many local event promoters.

“I believe that this was an opportunity that we could not miss. So when it came to my attention and the municipality, in terms of the approval, we made the necessary checks, we did our due diligence and we felt we could do it. As mayor I know of countless promoters who have been facilitated by the municipality. Once promoters come to us and ask and we can, the it is done. The municipality is always accommodating to promoters. We have granted amusement licences to promoters in three or two days, even small promoters who do their events within communities. They come to us late many, many, many times and we accommodate them. There is no special treatment for some promoters as against others. The KSAMC doesn't operate like that. What we did on Friday, we have been doing that for years,”Williams shared.

The mayor also noted that the staging of Sunday Service fits in perfectly with his overall vision for the city, which is to create a cultural space given the UNESCO designation as a Creative City and a City of Music.


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