Local entertainers who operate in the tourism sector are this morning pleading with authorities, to break up what they say is a monopoly in the supply of entertainment services in the industry.
The entertainers were speaking last evening on Nationwide @ 5, amid a controversy surrounding allegations that hotels are snubbing local entertainment providers and are hiring foreigners.
Recording Artiste, Mackie Conscious, says what currently exists is unfair competition, which he says results in a substandard local entertainment product.
Another prominent entertainer and President of the Jamaica Federation of Musicians and Affiliate Unions, Karen Smith, notes the tourism industry is thriving, but she says little worth is placed on local entertainment providers.
Mackie Conscious– who’s also an executive member of the Entertainers of Jamaica Association– says one company has an unfair advantage in the sector. He was referring to Harmony Entertainment based in Montego Bay, St. James.
In addition to sourcing entertainers for several hotels, the company also has an entertainment group that performs.
Mackie Conscious says Harmony Entertainment often fails to hire high-quality local acts.
He also says local entertainers are subjected to poor working conditions when contracted by Harmony Entertainment.
Meanwhile, dance choreographer, Dr. L’Antoinette Stines, says foreign entertainers are well taken care of, unlike local acts.
And, Ms. Smith says the limited opportunity for local entertainers in the tourism industry, is a real concern.
In the meantime, Manager of Harmony Entertainment, Dwight Finnley, is dismissing the claims.
He says in at least one of the hotels, Sandals, several local entertainers are hired to perform.
But, he says it’s difficult to satisfy some of the entertainment needs of tourists by just looking locally.
Mr. Finnley says the company often requests local talent from the training institutions.