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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says events like the Independence Day grand gala continue to be important in fostering patriotism and pride in country.
  • “So we had our Seville [Emancipation Jubilee], which looked at paying tribute to the ancestors, who were enslaved and we celebrated their freedom, and now we celebrate the fact that Jamaica has moved from that point to the stage where are observing our Independence,” she pointed out.
  • Emancipation and Independence activities were held under the theme: ‘Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright.’

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says events like the Independence Day grand gala continue to be important in fostering patriotism and pride in country.

“The celebrations are very important. Events like these will make us all recognise that we have to be a proud nation, we must celebrate our achievements,” she said.

Minister Grange was speaking to JIS News during Saturday’s (Aug. 6) staging of the grand gala at the National Stadium to mark Jamaica’s 54th year of Independence.

“So we had our Seville [Emancipation Jubilee], which looked at paying tribute to the ancestors, who were enslaved and we celebrated their freedom, and now we celebrate the fact that Jamaica has moved from that point to the stage where are observing our Independence,” she pointed out.

She noted that it is important to mark these milestones “and celebrate where we are coming from, where we are and that will determine where we are going.”

The Minister expressed pleasure at the turnout for the grand gala, which filled the 35,000-seat capacity stadium.

The event, themed ‘Youth Arise’, was geared towards the celebration of youth. It featured some 1,000 performers, mainly children and young adults, with segments on youth in education, youth in technology, and youth as creators of cultural expressions.

Among the acts were Kevin Downswell, Kamelia Isaacs, Capleton, Gyptian, G-Whizz, Nesbeth and the Dragonaires.

There was also a performance called ‘Generation Gap’ featuring comedians Ity and Fancy Cat and Oliver Samuels, as well as 2016 Festival Song winner, O’Neil Scott.

“What we have done is make the connection between the old and the new, (showing) the transition and all the experiences that make up a young person’s life,” Ms. Grange explained.

“The experience highlights the fact that although we have to draw on the work of our pioneers and recognise the work that was done before, that we also have to recognise that Jamaica is moving to a whole new paradigm, a whole new experience and that our young people is of a new generation,” she added.

Minister Grange said the grand gala served as a reminder of the struggles of the nation’s forefathers and that the younger generation must continue the legacy of development and improvement.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, hailed the 2016 grand gala as a “tremendous success”.

“We will meet with our various stakeholders to get their feedback and incorporate that in influencing the planning for next year,” he told JIS NEWS, noting that the celebrations for Independence ‘55 will be “bigger and better.”

“We will be pulling out all the stops to make sure it rivals Jamaica 54,” he said.

Emancipation and Independence activities were held under the theme: ‘Let’s Get Together and Feel Alright.’

The celebrations were undertaken at a cost of $150 million and included the staging of the Independence Village at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St. Andrew, featuring concerts, exhibitions, and other activities.