Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the Government is in the process of implementing a national branding programme, to effectively communicate and reinforce the true essence of what it means to be Jamaican. The Prime Minister, in a tribute to Tony Award winning actor and African-American entertainer and producer, Harry Belafonte, at a reception held recently in Montego Bay, stated that it is “virtually impossible” for countries, particularly small-island states like Jamaica, to compete without a strong national brand. She said that by implementing the branding programme, Jamaica will be better able to co-ordinate and manage its image and reputation, especially among people and countries with which it is seeking to do business. “A strong national brand helps to attract investment, talent, consumers and tourists, and enhances the country’s cultural and political influence,” she argued. “Among the many things we will do is to ensure that we capitalise on the global appeal and popularity of the Jamaican brand that Harry Belafonte played such a major role in helping to define back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, long before Bob Marley and reggae music were global phenomena,” she added. The Prime Minister, in the meantime, noted that the key to economic growth and wealth creation resides within the creative intellect and expression of the Jamaican people. “I passionately believe in our people. I believe that our people are the living embodiment of the culture…that differentiates us from the rest of the world, and that traditionally manifests in stellar achievements in the fields of sports, culture and music,” she said. She noted that the cultural capital has been skillfully harnessed over the years and has helped to engender nationalistic pride and a sense of belonging among Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora. “We now have to take it a step forward by leveraging our people’s culture into high-value, globally competitive niche products and services that will marvel the world”, the Prime Minister pointed out.