Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, says plans are in place to revive the country’s Culinary Arts Festival and Competition beginning next year. Introduced during the 1970s, the festival, which showcased the island’s rich culinary food and delights, was later discontinued after having been staged for a number of years. “It will now be resuscitated and have pride of place. It will include hoteliers and other Jamaicans from all walks of life. We’ll also be going into the villages. Through this effort, we’ll re-establish the cottage industry with Jamaican foods and treats,” she said. Story Highlights Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, says plans are in place to revive the country’s Culinary Arts Festival and Competition beginning next year.Introduced during the 1970s, the festival, which showcased the island’s rich culinary food and delights, was later discontinued after having been staged for a number of years.“It will now be resuscitated and have pride of place. It will include hoteliers and other Jamaicans from all walks of life. We’ll also be going into the villages. Through this effort, we’ll re-establish the cottage industry with Jamaican foods and treats,” she said.The Minister was speaking at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Culinary Expo held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on August 2.Additionally, Ms. Grange said there are plans to have the festival “institutionalised, so that it can be sustained,” and has asked Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, to commit budgetary support in this regard.The JCDC’s Culinary Arts Specialist, Dr. Pamella Powell, welcomed the festival’s resuscitation, describing the move by the Culture Minister “as a great thing to revive”.Meanwhile, Ms. Grange urged the protection of certain “works (of food) and final product on display,” which can be classified as intellectual property.“Far too often, we see food shows on networks that have creations that are distinctively Jamaican, but other nations take credit. They cleverly use the term, ‘Jamaican-style jerk, juices and pastries’, with none of the input or labour being Jamaican.We have to protect them,” Ms. Grange emphasised.Turning to other matters, the Minister said plans exist to have reggae music inscribed and protected as an “intangible cultural heritage” with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).The aim of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage is to ensure those included on the list are better protected and to bring awareness of their significance worldwide.It is expected that in November, the country will know whether it is successful in its efforts to have reggae music on the list of intangible cultural heritage.The Minister added that a submission to UNESCO will also be made to include “our food, as these strides will protect the local economy and small players”.For his part, Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, noted that 40 per cent of the expenditure of visitors to the island last year was spent on food experiences.He said that Jamaica has now established itself as the premier gastronomy destination of the Caribbean, after having been the only country in the region last year to have an exposition “which the United Nations World Tourism Organization calls the Gastronomy Prototype”.Mr. Bartlett noted that it has become necessary to train and build up the professionalism of those in the culinary profession, especially chefs, through the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation, which graduated 150 participants a few months ago.These graduates received the American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification and American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) designation.“We want to give them certification, so that…we won’t have to be importing chefs from across the world, because we will be producing our own in Jamaica,” he said.During the expo, patrons toured several booths and sampled a number of local cuisines from hotels as well as the HEART Trust/NTA. The JCDC’s 55th anniversary cake was also cut.
Google has come under continued criticism for its censored Chinese search engine since it was revealed earlier this year. But the Project – named Project Dragonfly – is today facing a day of action from human rights organization Amnesty International. Saying that “the app would set a dangerous precedent for tech companies enabling rights abuses by governments,” Amnesty yesterday launched a petition opposing the project, and will be coordinating protests outside Google offices around the world. Although Google has faced tough criticism – not least from within the organization itself – Amnesty International’s focus on the company represents another major challenge for Google to contend with as it ends a tough 2018. Arguably, Amnesty has shifted the complexion of the issue. It has forced it to become a question of human rights, not just of business priorities and practical compromises. What does Amnesty say about Google’s Project Dragonfly? As you can imagine, Amnesty International is unequivocal in its condemnation of the censored search engine. Joe Westby, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Technology and Human Rights, said “this is a watershed moment for Google. As the world’s number one search engine, it should be fighting for an internet where information is freely accessible to everyone, not backing the Chinese government’s dystopian alternative.” One of Amnesty’s biggest fears is that Project Dragonfly could set a precedent. There’s a chance it could make it acceptable for tech companies to cooperate with nations with poor records on human rights. Westby argued that “if Google is happy to capitulate to the Chinese government’s draconian rules on censorship, what’s to stop it cooperating with other repressive governments who control the flow of information and keep tabs on their citizens?” What is Amnesty International doing to protest? Amnesty International has put together a plan to raise awareness of Project Dragonfly, in a bid to gain more support from Google employees and, indeed, the wider public. Alongside the petition and planned protests, Amnesty also put together a satirical Google recruitment video. If you want to work for Google on the project, you need “great coding skills, five years’ experience, and absolutely no morals.” How has Google responded to Amnesty International? Google hasn’t, at the time of publication, responded to any requests for comment. However, CEO Sundar Pichai has always defended Project Dragonfly from criticism, saying that with China accounting for more than 20% of the world’s population, Google is “compelled” to continue on its mission to help spread information to everyone around the world, regardless of who or where they are. He has also been keen to stress that Project Dragonfly is only an experiment, and has failed to commit to timelines for launching the search engine. It would appear that Google is still testing the waters and seeing if it can find a PR line it thinks employees and the general public will be happy with.