Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jamaica for Sale

Ever wonder what happens when unsustainable tourism and development spiral out of control on an island paradise? Look no further than the island nation of Jamaica, as Dr. Esther Figueroa investigates in her documentary film, Jamaica for Sale.

The documentary, which won the Audience Award at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival and the Bronze Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival, will be shown on Thursday, February 18th at the William S. Richardson School of Law. It takes a poignant look at the environmental, economic, social, and cultural impacts of unsustainable tourism development in Jamaica through the eyes of its workers, small hoteliers, fishermen, community members, and environmentalists.

The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program’s Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP) and Center for Sustainable Coastal Tourism will be hosting the event and providing refreshments prior to the film.

Maxine Burkett, director of ICAP and associate professor of law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, explained why Hawai‘i residents will be particularly interested in the film. “ICAP is uniquely concerned with the vulnerability of island communities to a changing climate. Jamaica for Sale demonstrates the impacts of tourism on island environments - human and natural - and highlights the need to cultivate a sustainable tourism industry as we build a more resilient Hawai'i.”
A panel discussion following the film will be held. Filmmaker Dr. Esther Figueroa will be joined by Dr. James Mak, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawai‘i Department of Economics and author of Developing a Dream Destination: Tourism and Tourism Policy Planning in Hawai‘i and Mr. Ramsay Taum, Native Hawaiian cultural consultant to the tourism industry.

Media coverage is invited and encouraged

Thursday, February 18, 2010, 6:30–9:00 p.m.
William S. Richardson School of Law, Classroom 1
2515 Dole Street, Honolulu
(refreshments will be provided prior to the film)

The University of Hawai’i Sea Grant College Program is part of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s prestigious School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.
It supports an innovative program of research, education and extension services directed to the improved understanding and stewardship of coastal and marine resources of the state, region and nation. Science serving Hawai’i and the Pacific for over 40 years.

Jamaica for Sale - Produced & Directed by Esther Figueroa
A Documentary about Tourism and Unsustainable Development.

Though the Caribbean receives about five percent of the global tourist trade, it is the region most economically dependent on tourism. Heavily promoted since 1891 as the way to modernization and prosperity, tourism has tragically failed in its promises, as Jamaica is one of the most indebted countries in the world. Lively, hard hitting, with powerful voices, arresting visuals and iconic music, Jamaica for Sale documents the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of unsustainable tourism development. Filled with wit and penetrating observations from the street wise to highly acclaimed academics, Jamaica for Sale engages with a cross section of Jamaicans: workers, small hoteliers, fishermen, community members, and environmentalists. As Jamaica is irreversibly transformed by massive hotel and luxury condominium development, Jamaica for Sale both documents this transformation and is trying to turn the tide. It is a cautionary tale not just for Jamaica, but all islands in the Caribbean, and all places around the world who are dependent on tourism and/or participating in unsustainable development practices.

Esther Figueroa, PhD, (Vagabond Media, Juniroa Productions, Inc.) is a Jamaican independent filmmaker, writer, educator and linguist. She has over 25 years of experience in media production including documentaries, oral histories, educational videos, television programming, music videos, multi-media, web content, and feature film. An activist filmmaker, her work focuses on local knowledge, indigenous cultures, social injustice, community empowerment, and the environment. Her work gives voice to those outside of mainstream media, and aims to counter the dominant values, information and world views portrayed in commercial media.

For more information, please contact:
Cindy Knapman
Communications Leader
University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program
2525 Correa Road, HIG #208
Honolulu, HI 96822
808) 956-7410