It was a day of celebration, history and cultural extravagance at the Clan Carthy Primary School in Kingston, on Tuesday (May 8), as the institution hosted its Caribbean Cultural Exposition, aptly dubbed ‘Caribbean Explosion’.
The Deanery Road School was alive with excitement and energy, as the students and teachers showcased aspects of the Caribbean’s cultural legacy through dance, music and poetry. There were also several booths displaying information on the history of the various countries in the region, including Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados and Guyana.
Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, who brought greetings during the event’s opening ceremony, told the students that they share a special historical and cultural bond with the many citizens across the region.
“In the big Caribbean sea, we are not alone. All around the Caribbean, there are people just like us, just like you. We have many friends and many bonds (across the region), despite the fact that we live in different lands and are separated by the Caribbean Sea,” he said.
Rev. Thwaites further told the students that they must welcome the opportunity to learn as much as they can about their neighbours and “brothers and sisters” across the Caribbean.
In his remarks, Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley, told the students that they have a lot to be proud of as citizens of the Caribbean.
“Caribbean children can take on anybody in the world. We are creative and very talented in the Caribbean. When the Olympics begin in August, we are going to ‘mash it up’ and take the (Caribbean) to the world,” he said.
Mr. Bartley also used the opportunity to share an aspect of Jamaican culture with the students, by leading a spirited dance of the ‘Dinki Mini’ as he exited the stage.
Meanwhile, Retired teacher, Joan Davis Williams, who gave the keynote address, encouraged the students to use their gifts and strengths as Caribbean people to change the world.
She further encouraged them to emulate good habits and to follow the positive aspects of the Jamaican and Caribbean culture, and to avoid the things that hold them back from being their best.
“I want you, at all times, as Caribbean people, as people of Clan Carthy Primary school, to shine perpetually. I need you to take the good habits from people around you and to shine in a positive way,” she urged.
“You must shine with excellent behaviour…You must be an example to others and ignite the flame in others,” Mrs. Davis Williams added.
To further drive home her point, Mrs. Davis Williams, who is also a motivational speaker, held up two big East Indian mangoes to the audience. She explained that the mangoes are a symbol of the beauty and uniqueness of the Caribbean, but also explained that they represented something deeper.
After explaining that the bigger and prettier mango was not real, but actually made of plastic, she told the students that they must strive to be genuine and real in their everyday lives.
“I want my Caribbean people and my Clan Carthy students to be real. You don’t have to try to imitate anybody in a negative way. I do not want you to only look as if you are persons of quality, but you must be persons of quality and substance,” she said.
“Be honest, be decent and do not only behave well when your teachers are watching. They say a man’s character is best judged by what he does when he thinks nobody is looking,” Mrs. Davis Williams said.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter