Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to Jamaica, His Excellency Dr. José Tomás Ares, says that more Jamaicans should learn Spanish as a second language.
He made the remarks at the 2017 edition of the Spanish Carol Service, which was held under the theme ‘Christmas in Spanish: out of many one language’ at the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston on November 30
The Ambassador argued that more than six million people speak Spanish in Latin America, noting that it is important for “our integration in the Caribbean and the Spanish speaking region”.
Dr. Tomás Ares, who is also Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, said the language is essential if Jamaicans are to benefit from the many economic opportunities in the Spanish-speaking region.
“I just want to invite and ask the Ministry of Education in Jamaica to declare Spanish as a second official language in Jamaica. We have been talking about this for many years,” he said.
For his part, Spanish Teacher at the Kingston Technical High School, Kevonne Edwards, endorsed the Ambassador’s call, noting that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world.
“Jamaicans need to understand that we live in a global world, and Spanish is everywhere. There are opportunities to do business with other countries, so persons should get with it. There are benefits, so they should embrace the Hispanic culture,” he stated.
Hundreds of students from primary, secondary and other educational institutions in Kingston presented songs in Spanish at the carol service. They also read eight lessons in the language.
The Service, which was conducted entirely in Spanish, sometimes with English translations, also had lessons read by Colombian Ambassador, His Excellency Roberto García Marquez, Dominican Ambassador, Dr. José Tomás Ares; and Spanish teachers in training at Shortwood Teachers’ College.
Some of the songs sung at the event were ‘Felíz Navidad’, ‘El Burrito Sabanero’, ‘Llega la Navidad’ and ‘La Marimorena’.
The event is an initiative of the Embassy of Spain and the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF), with the participation of several embassies of Spanish-speaking countries (Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama) and the Embassy of the United States of America.
Project Manager of the SJF, Vanessa Meggoe, told JIS News that the Foundation received assistance from the Embassy of Spain and other Spanish-speaking embassies in organising the event.
She said that representatives of the embassies went to the schools to teach Spanish carols of their countries.
“So what it does is raise awareness of the language. It shows the children that there are persons who speak the language, and it gives them a feel for the language,” she explained.