Culture Ministry trains Customs Officers to prevent trafficking of cultural property

Culture Minister Olivia Grange says her Ministry is engaging customs officials in the fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural property.

This as part of the Government’s approach to protecting Jamaica’s material cultural heritage.

In the past, items at heritage sites in Port Royal, Fort Haldane, Chancery Hall and Bowden have been pilfered.

Ms. Grange who was speaking at the close of training workshops for customs officers in St. James this week said the officials play a critical role in preventing the pilferage of artefacts for lucrative and illicit exports.

The intent, she explained, is for there to be only permitted movement through effective regulatory actions such as export certificates.

The Government is working to amend the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Act to address the trade of cultural material.

It also seeks to ratify two international conventions – The UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property, and the UNIDROIT Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects.

Ms. Grange stressed that a new legislative and regulatory environment will help to prevent pilferage at heritage sites and jump-start the repatriation of Jamaican artefacts that are part of foreign collections.


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