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JIS News

The spotlight will be on the old capital in another week, when Emancipation and Independence celebrations for the parish of St. Catherine begin.
Chair of the planning committee and Member of Parliament for South Central St. Catherine, Sharon Hay-Webster told JIS News that this year’s celebration would be one of cultural expression.
“There will be the best of talent from the parish, a re-enactment of the Emancipation activities in terms of reading the declaration. We’re (also) going to have some official activities which will take place on the first of August. We will also have debates, presentations, and the usual Nyabinghi drumming,” she said.
On July 31, a vigil will be held at Emancipation Square in the town beginning at 8:00 p.m., while a similar but smaller one will also be held in Sligoville. On Friday, August 1, a rally will be held at Emancipation Square, beginning at 10:00 a.m., with a smaller one, also starting at 10:00 a.m., in Sligoville. Portmore will hold its share of the festivities for the parish, with the Portmore Festival of Talents and Food scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at the Portmore HEART Academy, on August 1. Meanwhile, Sunday, August 3 will see the Independence Praise and Gospel Concert in Old Harbour Square at 7:00 p.m.
Independence Day, August 6 will see the staging of a service, flag-raising ceremony, and civic function in Emancipation Square, followed by a street gala concert and dance on Burke Road in the town, beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Mrs. Hay-Webster pointed out that several diplomats are expected to attend the celebrations, including the Senegalese Ambassador to Jamaica. “Its unfortunate that the President of Senegal will not be with us as planned but the Ambassador will be here, plus, possibly diplomats from South Africa and Nigeria,” she informed.
The public is being encouraged to come out and take the opportunity to re-engage in the history and culture of the island. Mrs Hay-Webster noted that many Jamaicans do not truly understand the intricacies of the culture and expressed the hope that this year’s Independence and Emancipation celebrations would garner more interest.
Among the special arrangements being worked out to facilitate the public are: vending areas, for which registration has to be done at the Parish Council; the erection of directional signs; and designated parking areas.