Celebrate Jamaica on February 17

On February 17, nationals across the island will observe Jamaica Day 2012, under the theme:'Celebrating Jamaica: Goals for Gold'.  

This year, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) has enlisted the assistance of a number of public and private sector organisations to ensure that the activities to mark the day are bigger and better than ever. The celebrations will be even more meaningful, as the island marks its 50th anniversary of Independence this year.

Project Manager, JNHT, Michele Scott, says while 2012 marks the 10th year that Jamaica Day is being observed, it is the third year since the day has been proclaimed a National Day by the Governor-General, taking the celebrations beyond the schools.

“In 2010, the Governor-General proclaimed the day a National Day and so all government agencies, private sector companies, as well as all Jamaicans, should celebrate Jamaica Day. It is no longer just celebrated in our schools, but must be celebrated by all Jamaicans,” she tells JIS News.

She says “our objective as the JNHT is to perpetuate this proclamation and to get all Jamaicans, particularly in (the Kingston and St. Andrew) communities to be aware of this proclamation, and to accept Jamaica Day as the day that we celebrate Jamaica, our heritage, our people, our food and everything about being Jamaican,” she says.

The JNHT will be collaborating with the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), the Region One Schools in Kingston and St. Andrew, and the Social Development Commission (SDC) to assist in the provision of resources to execute its plans to make Jamaica Day an eventful one.

Three main activities will be held: a flag raising and recognition ceremony, a street parade, and an old-fashioned penny concert at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. with the flag raising ceremony, and participants include Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna; and representatives of the JNHT, cadets, girls’ guide and a local drum corps.

“Our plan is to synchronise the ceremony at the Heroes Park with all the schools in Kingston and St. Andrew, so at 8:30 a.m. we will all simultaneously raise the National Flag and sing the National Anthem in a show of unity on February 17,” Miss Scott tells JIS News.

At the same time, the street parade will get underway, with members of civic groups, trade unions, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and church groups, marching from Duke Street to Heroes Circle for a ceremony, where various organisations will be recognised for their positive contribution to the country over the years.

The groups to be recognised will include the girls’ guide, the trade unions, local musicians, the JCF, the JDF, the Salvation Army and Missionaries of Poor, Miss Scott informs.

The flag raising ceremony and street parade will be followed by a penny concert at 1:00 p.m. “This is an old time ‘sinting’ concert that features persons going on stage to perform various songs, dances, poems and so forth,” Miss Scott explains.

She notes that the event will take the format of the traditional Jamaican penny concert, where persons will have to pay to take the performer off the stage.

“If someone in the audience does not think that the person is performing well then that person has to pay twice as much to take the person off the stage. However, if that person does not wish to perform then they have to pay twice the amount to come down,” she says.

Jamaica Day is one of the flagship projects of the Culture in Education Programme. Its core objective is to “provide opportunities to learn more about our country and affirm our unique contribution to the world”.


By Athaliah Reynolds, JIS Reporter

JIS Social