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Nomination dossier submitted to UNESCO for Port Royal inscription

Thursday, February 28, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A nomination document has been submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the inscription of Port Royal on the World Heritage List.

Port Royal, a town located at the end of the Palisadoes strip in Kingston and former home to pirates during the 17thCentury, has been on UNESCO's World Heritage Tentative List since February 2009.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, said that a nomination dossier has been submitted to UNESCO and the Ministry should receive a response in July.

“We have sent in the dossier for Port Royal to be inscribed and we are in constant dialogue with UNESCO, because it is a process. We should know in July about the designation,” she said.

This follows the inscription of Reggae on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2018, the addition of the Maroon Heritage of Moore Town in 2008, the inscription of the Blue and John Crow Mountains to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2015, and UNESCO's designation of Kingston as a Cultural Music city.

For inclusion on the World Heritage List, countries are required to submit nomination dossiers on the relevant element for evaluation and examination by a UNESCO committee, which meets to evaluate nominations proposed and to decide whether or not to inscribe them.

Grange said the nomination process for Port Royal will be similar to the one done for the reggae inscription.

“It is the same process that we have to go through with having the designation of Port Royal,” she said, adding that the historical environment in Port Royal, which includes a sunken city and buried artefacts, will receive a designation from UNESCO.

The minister said the historic town is being prepared as a tourist destination, noting that a 'SeaWalk', a floating pier which will allow cruise ships to visit the town, is being installed.

According to a release from the Port Authority of Jamaica, the SeaWalk, under electronic control, “will unfold to meet a ship which is anchored in a stationary position off the shore.” It states that after the completion of marine works, the installation and connection of the SeaWalk will begin and is expected to be completed by May 2019.

Addressing other aspects of Jamaica's culture, Grange said the ministry will be applying to UNESCO for World Heritage designations and inscriptions of other genres of music.

“We intend to nominate the different genres. There are different categories for which they can be nominated,” she said.

Jamaica has created no less than seven genres of music, the most current being dancehall.

The minister said that Kumina, a Jamaican ritual brought to the island in the 1840s to 1860s by indentured labourers of Congo in Africa, will be submitted to UNESCO.

“For Kumina, there is a possible threat of disappearing because it is not passed on sufficiently from one generation to the next, so we will be sending that in; also Revival and mento, which was our first pop music,” she said.

Meanwhile, the minister said that activities pertaining to the development of reggae music are being monitored by UNESCO.

“UNESCO monitors wherever an inscription is successfully inscribed, and you have to report regularly. They monitor what we do, and for reggae, they will be monitoring and we have to keep an inventory of how we are developing the music. We have to have some kind of report in terms of how stakeholders are involved. There are commitments, which we have to fulfil for any inscription by UNESCO,” the minister explained.

She said that the Blue and John Crow Mountains is also being monitored by UNESCO, adding that a technical team at the ministry is now preparing a report for submission.

“They ensure that we maintain standards and that at no time we fall below what is necessary to ensure that we are of a World Heritage status,” Grange added.


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