Reggae artistes (from left, in front) Spice and Koffee celebrating their Martin's International Reggae Music Awards as Jamaica's Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange looks on approvingly.

Organisers of the International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) are carefully examining the current global situation before deciding on the fate of this year's event.

Scheduled for May 1 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew, a decision is to be taken this weekend and an announcement made early next week.

Head of IRAWMA Ephraim Martin told the Jamaica Observer that the directors have scheduled a meeting to look at all the factors before arriving at a position regarding the event.

“All I can say right now is that we are looking at everything and we will decide and share our decision at a press conference on Tuesday morning. We are taking note of what is happening all around us with the pandemic and will definitely take that onto consideration,” said Martin.

The IRAWMA process has already seen a setback as traditionally nominations would be own on the voting categories from January.

“We have not started the nominations process just yet. Usually, we start in January, but because of all that is happening we are waiting to start. On Tuesday, we will make everything known,” Martin added.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the awards which recognises excellence in reggae and world beat music.

Last year's presentation was staged virtually and saw winners including Buju Banton, Koffee, and Popcaan with three wins each. Chronixx and Tarrus Riley tied for the Jacob Miller Best Male Vocalist award. Gramps Morgan received the award for Best Gospel Song. Best Female Deejay went to Shenseea; while the award for Best Dancehall Stage Craft Entertainer was shared by veteran deejays Beenie Man and Bounty Killer in recognition for their May 2020 appearance on the virtual performance series Verzuz.

Best Reggae Rock Entertainer went to Gentleman. The Dennis Brown Award for Most Promising Entertainer was won by Sevana, and Sean Paul was named Best Caribbean Entertainer, with Chimney Records — which is operated by Jordan McClure and David Hayle — named Record Producers of the Year.

Ephraim Martin
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnson@jamaicaobserver.com

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