Stop it! — Entertainment minister demands withdrawal of Jamaica branded items for sale online

Jamaica’s Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange, has demanded the withdrawal of items of clothing and other products with the country’s national symbols, that are being sold online.

Grange issued the statement in the aftermath of a concert held in the country by US rapper Kanye West.

The items were being sold on West’s online store.

The merchandise were being offered for sale just hours after West held his concert – dubbed “Sunday Service” at Emancipation Park last week.

“We neither received a request for nor did we give permission for our national symbols and emblems to be used for a commercial manner or otherwise”

— Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport

The move to sell the items triggered concerns over possible copyright infringement regarding the island’s sovereign national symbols and emblems.

“It has come to my attention that items of clothing printed with national symbols and emblems are being offered for sale online,” Grange stated.

“We neither received a request for nor did we give permission for our national symbols and emblems to be used for a commercial manner or otherwise.  I have since requested that the items be withdrawn and the vendor has agreed to do so.”

Kanye West and members of his choir wore shirts emblazoned with the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation seal on Friday at the Sunday Service concert.

“I noticed Kanye West and members of his choir wearing similarly emblazoned items during their special performance in Kingston on Friday night (Oct. 18), but I was not aware at the time that the costumes were being sold online,” the release stated.

Minister Olivia Grange poses with Kanye West following the Sunday Service concert on Friday (Oct 18)

The Entertainment Minister added that several years ago, when she first served as Minister, she established a committee to review and devise a strategy for dealing with the proper use of  Jamaica’s emblems and symbols. 

Minister Olivia Grange

“That work was stopped at the change of administrations. I have been granted permission to re-establish the committee and to continue the work.”

She said that the membership of the committee will include representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and others.