Jamaicans have been encouraged to celebrate and demonstrate unity and togetherness for Emancipation and Independence.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on July 22, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the festivities are for all Jamaicans, and they must come together and “show no political, class or religious divide.”
“It is about one Jamaica, and for us to celebrate our achievements and to share in whatever tribulations or trials we had prior to Independence and to draw on the strength going forward to overcome whatever there may be,” she added.
The Minister said the country has proven to the world that “we are a nation of talents; we have the fastest man on earth and we have some of the fastest women.”
“We also gave the world a musical icon in Bob Marley ….so we have a lot to be proud of,” Miss Grange said.
The country is celebrating 54 years of Independence under the theme: ‘Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright’. Emancipation Day will be observed on August 1, while Independence Day will be celebrated on August 6.
The Minister pointed out that there will be a series of events across the island from Sunday, July 31 to Saturday, August 6 for people to attend. These include church services, parish vigils, flag raising ceremonies, festival bandwagons, public fora, street dances, Independence concerts and stage shows which will be organised by the Ministry and its agency, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
“We are going into every community, corner, street and lane right across the island and even to the Diaspora. We are reaching out to the Diaspora and with technology we are penetrating the world,” she added.
She called on business places and offices to decorate their buildings in the national colours – black, gold and green – to support the theme.
In addition, the Minister is urging Jamaicans to wear the colours of the Fashion theme: ‘Wear it Gold and Stripe it Bold’.
“Every Jamaican is expected to find a way of wearing gold and striping it bold. It can be bold in black, it can be bold in green, but we want you to come out and be very bold about the celebrations,” she said.
The Minister explained that the public can be involved in the celebrations by participating in a number of initiatives, including the Window Dressing competition, Best Decorated Business competition, Best Diaspora celebrations, Social Media competition and the Best Decorated Parish Councils and Towns for Independence.
She also invited media houses to participate in a Media competition, noting that there is a special award for the entity that demonstrates the ‘Spirit of Independence’ as well as an award for the advertising agency that utilises the Independence theme in its promotional campaigns.
“I want to say to the media houses that in the spirit of Independence, we are asking you to play the festival song and to give it heavy rotation,” she said.