CMEA Lobby Critical
Musicians across the Cayman Islands will soon receive much needed financial assistance through a partnership between the Cayman Islands Government and the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association (“CMEA”).
The Ministry of Culture will be providing musicians a one-time stipend of CI$1,000. Musicians should contact the Ministry of Culture (“Ministry”) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 936-2369 for more information.
This current emergency disbursement in aid of local musicians is estimated to exceed CI$100,000. The funds were made possible largely in part of lobbying by CMEA President Jeán - eric Smith, who presented the case for musicians to be considered for a stipend during this time.
This stipend will only be available to local performing artists, and per CMEA guidelines does not include recording artists, which outlines the order in which the funds should be disbursed, following a needs-based structure.
• CMEA Veterans
• Full-time performing musicians and Djs
• Part-time musicians and Djs
• Non-consistent performers
“Our veterans are at the top of the list, then full time performing musicians and Dj’s who were deprived of employment directly due to the loss of our tourism sector. The part-time musicians and Djs are next on the list as they utilize entertainment to supplement their income from other employment and then lastly those who are in music just recently and/or those not consistently performing,” explained Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith added that even those who were not in good standing with the CMEA would still receive support and were included on the list presented to the Ministry. “In the interest of transparency, it’s up to the Ministry to decide who ultimately receives the funds.”
“We want to thank the entire Cayman Islands Government, not just the Ministry for this generous support. This is an unprecedented sum and never before in history has this amount of money been given to local musicians collectively.” said Mr. Smith.
He lauded the efforts of the Honourable Minister of Culture, Dwayne Seymour during his tenure and noted that, “Because of Minister Seymour’s commitment to the arts and in particular music and entertainment, today CMEA receive CI$20,000 of support annually, over 10x more in funding than received 15 years prior.”
The stipend comes on the heels of a jingle competition in which musicians had the opportunity to win CI$1,200 for creating an extraordinary jingle about the COVID-19 pandemic; an initiative spearheaded by Celebrate Cayman and the Ministry of Culture to give out of work performing artists an opportunity to bring in some much needed income.
Categories included Public Health-Education and Awareness, Community Solidarity and Awareness, Hope and Healing.
The initiative behind the stipend, spearheaded by the CMEA President, highlighted the strength of the growing bond between the organization and the Cayman Islands Government.
“Through my working relationship with the Minister, I presented a case for financial relief for the CMEA members and he took it one step further to Cabinet, making it not just a Ministry grant but one from the entire Government as a whole. I am glad that the entire cabinet has supported this decision, and displayed their respect for the important contribution our musicians make in the community.”
“I feel proud and happy for everyone. It’s always good to see something work out better than you expected. I lobbied for this over a period of two months and this certainly ranks up at the top of the many accomplishments I have had as President of this organization.”
“We have to continue to support the arts during this time and we thank all of them for their contributions,” noted the Honourable Minister for Culture, Dwayne Seymour at a recent government press briefing.
He added that during this time of being indoors, Cayman’s musicians and entertainers have played an important role in galvanizing community spirit, healing and positivity.
Mr. Smith noted that it is up to each person to spend their stipend how they see fit but expressed his hope that individuals would find some way to better their current situation while somehow reinvesting in their craft.
“Money certainly can’t buy happiness but it can buy an artiste the time and means to create which in return can bring immeasurable joy.” he explained.