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JIS News

Festival activities, in celebration of Emancipation and Independence, are again promising to be a grand affair for Jamaicans islandwide.
The events, organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), under the theme: ‘I Believe in Jamaica!!!’, will commence on July 30 and culminate on Independence Day, August 6. This year, Jamaica celebrates 47 years as an independent nation and it will also mark 12 years since the country officially resumed Emancipation Day celebrations on August 1.
The slate of festival events was unveiled on Wednesday (July 8), during a ceremony in The Gardens at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
Guest speaker, Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, described the theme as a call to action for every Jamaican, and expressed the hope that each person will respond accordingly, and be motivated to contribute to Jamaica’s continued development.
“We aim to reinforce in every Jamaican, how blessed we are to live in this country, this little piece of rock, and to be part of this great family of Jamaicans,” she said.
The festival activities, Miss Grange informed, will provide a “national stage on which Jamaica’s achievements will be showcased.” She said the events will commence on July 30 with Mello-go-Roun’ at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston, showcasing the best of the performing arts. The activities continue on July 31 with the National Emancipation Vigil in Spanish Town Square at 10:00 p.m., and Emancipation Jubilee at Seville, St. Ann.
Emancipation Day, August 1, will see August Fair being staged at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, which Miss Grange advised will feature traditional folk forms in music and dance, culinary delights, and heritage displays, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Later that day, the Centre will host the World Reggae Dance Championships at 8:00 p.m.
On Sunday August 2, the nation will join in worship in Independence thanksgiving services islandwide, with the national service slated for the East Queen Street Baptist Church in Kingston. Later in the evening, the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre will host the finals of the National Gospel Song competition, being staged under the theme: ‘I Believe in Praise!!!’.
“This (theme) resonates with the individualised commitment of the overall theme: ‘I Believe in Jamaica!!!’, and is a testament of our recognition of the Gospel community’s contribution to our nation’s development,” the Minister said.
The activities continue on August 5 with the National Emancipation/Independence Forum at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library at 10:00 a.m., and will culminate with gala events on Independence Day, August 6. These will include: the Independence float parade on the streets of the Corporate Area, beginning at 10:00 a.m., the Grand Gala at the National Stadium at 4:00 p.m., a street dance in Half-Way Tree at 8:00 p.m., along with street dances in towns and communities islandwide. A flag-raising ceremony in Sam Sharpe Square, and a Gala on the waterfront, will highlight activities in Montego Bay, St. James.
There are other preliminary activities leading up to Emancipation and Independence, including the finals of the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Competition on July 18 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre; the awards ceremony for the visual arts competition at the National Gallery of Jamaica on July 19; and the finals of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition on July 26 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre. In addition, the JCDC will stage a Visual Impact and Awareness Campaign across the island from July 20 to August 10.
In urging full support for the activities, Miss Grange said that it is important that, “while we celebrate our achievements since Independence, we examine the challenges we must overcome.”
The launch also saw the unveiling of this year’s festival jingle aptly reflecting the theme for the festival celebration, ‘I Believe in Jamaica!!!’, which was written and composed by well known musician and producer, Michael Bennett. In addition, guests were treated to fashions depicting the national colours trimmed with bandana.