Monday, 17 October 2022 16:03

Babsy Grange Gets OJ For Contribution To Culture And Politics

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One of Jamaica's longest serving female members of Parliament, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia "Babsy" Grange, was presented with the Order of Jamaica at today's National Honours Investiture at King's House.  

She is being recognised for sterling contribution to cultural development and political administration in Jamaica.

Minister Grange, affectionately called “Babsy” has been the Member of Parliament for St. Catherine Central since 1997 and is an ardent promoter of Jamaica’s creative and cultural industries.

In 2015, she was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for her contribution to the Jamaican Music Industry, Cultural Development and Public Service.

Speaking during a recent sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister Grange said she is proud to have devoted her life to serving the Jamaican people.

“I just want to thank my colleagues, and Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness for having the confidence in me to have appointed me a Cabinet Minister and to have honoured me in this way,” she said.

Reflecting on her more than two decades of public service, Minister Grange said that the choice to work for the Jamaican people is one of the best decisions she has ever made.

“I never wanted to be in representational politics, because I felt that it divided people, but I also wanted to represent people… It is good to serve the people of Jamaica. I am happy I made that decision,” she noted.

She served as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister from 1985 to 1989, and Government Senator and Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Culture between 1983 and 1985.

She was appointed Minister of Information, Youth, Sports and Culture, with responsibility for Women and Gender Affairs, Entertainment, Community Development and Special Projects in 2007.

In 2009, she was selected the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) first Champion for Culture with responsibility to advocate for, among other things, capacity-building for cultural industries, cultural institutions, and individual artists.

Ms. Grange has also served as Executive Director, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC); Arts Officer, Institute of Jamaica; Cultural Director, West Kingston Community Cultural Development Programme; and Public Relations Officer, West Kingston Trust.

She is credited for successfully leading the inscription of reggae music on the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2018.

Rising to prominence as one of Jamaica’s foremost authorities on culture and entertainment, Minister Grange has had a long and distinguished career with many successes that have had a significant impact on the development of the Jamaican creative industries.

A self- professed “downtown girl”, Minister Grange who grew up in West Kingston, never imagined the path she would travel would lead her to becoming one of the most respected and beloved figures of the Jamaican political landscape.

She is devoted to her constituents and believes in service above self.

“No matter how good you are when you enter politics you are painted with that broad brush, but if you know that in your heart you are sincere and you are a true representative of the people, it doesn’t matter what they say. You stay focused and you get the job done,” she said.

Minister Grange is admired for her strength, resilience, and for helping to pave the path for future generations of aspiring young female politicians.

“I want to say to my female colleagues here, especially the young ones, just be true. Be sincere to your constituents. Work for them, but also let them know you are here to work with them. Don’t let them feel that you are super woman. Don’t let them feel that they can also intimidate you. Just be yourself and get the job done,” she advised.

Minister Grange has been instrumental in introducing policy initiatives in Jamaica to support the development of the cultural and creative industries.

She is a critical figure in the development of the reggae and dancehall music industry and the advancement of brand Jamaica in the international market.

Another notable accomplishment is her role as a founding member and Director of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP). She assisted in developing the Jamaican copyright legislation.

Ms. Grange was also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Specs Limited and Spec-Shang Music.