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WASHINGTON — Their Excellencies Governor-General, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, and Lady Allen, will head a list of dignitaries joining Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica in Washington, D.C. to mark the nation’s 49th year of Independence, at the annual Service of Thanksgiving on Sunday, August 7.

The service will be held at the Dumbarton Chapel, Howard University’s School of Law on the Van Ness campus in Northwest Washington, D.C., starting at 11:00 a.m.

The Governor-General will read the first lesson. Ambassador Audrey P. Marks will give the official welcome and deliver Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding’s Independence Message.  General Secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, the Rev. Karl Johnson, will deliver the sermon, and Jamaican-born dean of Theology at Howard University, Rev. Dr. Bertram L. Melbourne, will officiate.

Members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the U.S. government, including members of congress, will also attend. 

Following the service, Ambassador Marks will host a reception at which the Governor General will have an opportunity to meet Jamaicans in the Diaspora and other well wishers. It is his first visit to Washington since taking office.

Ambassador Marks told JIS News that she was extremely delighted that Their Excellencies will be participating in the Independence celebrations this year in the United States.

Officially, Jamaica’s Independence celebrations in the Washington Area commenced Thursday, August 4, with an official Open House at the Embassy in downtown Washington, D.C.  The event featured displays by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and the Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS). Members of the public were able to meet the Ambassador one on one, and enjoy sumptuous Jamaican cooking.

“The purpose of this second Open House is really to provide the public with an opportunity to see, first-hand, the Embassy’s activities, and to appreciate the efforts by the Government to promote various aspects of Jamaican life,” Ambassador Marks explained.

She described the large turn-out of Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica as gratifying and commended Embassy staff for their work in showcasing the country.                                                      

Other activities include two Balls on Independence Day, Saturday, August 6, hosted by the Jamaica Association of Maryland (JAM) and Team Jamaica Bickle (Philadelphia Chapter).

Ambassador Marks will deliver the keynote address at the JAM Ball, which will be held at the Martins West Conference Centre in Baltimore, under her distinguished patronage. Baltimore’s Mayor, Stephanie Blake, will also bring greetings.

This year, JAM will present the Marcus Garvey UNIA Award for outstanding education and community service to Dean and Professor of Biology at Morgan State University, Dr. Joseph Whittaker. US congressman Elijah Cummings will be conferred with honorary membership for supporting Jamaica and the Caribbean. Nicolas Nathan will be honoured for outstanding support to JAM.

In Philadelphia, Team Jamaica Bickle will host their second annual Independence Ball at the Double-Tree Hotel. The organisation will honour Jamaica’s outgoing Honorary Consul for Pennsylvania, Dr. Alston Meade; former Jamaica Consul-General to New York, Dr. Basil Bryan; and Patricia Saunders.

On August 13, the Jamaica Nationals Association (JNA) will hold its annual gala, under the patronage of the Ambassador at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.   For this calendar event, the Jamaican community and friends of Jamaica will be joined by members of the diplomatic corps, as well as representatives of the US Government and Congress.

Popular ABC Channel 7 award-winning news anchor Maureen Bunyan and DC-based comedian Michael Campbell will be masters of ceremony.  Patrons to the gala will dance to music provided by saxophonist, Walter Tates, Jr., Kenny Lurlou and the All Stars Reggae Band, and DJ Paul Mack. Proceeds will go to JNA’s Student Scholarship Programme, which provides books for students in the USA and Jamaica.

On Sunday, August 14, JAM will hold its annual Independence Thanksgiving Service at the Baltimore Central New Testament Church of God, commencing at

5:00 p.m. The curtains come down on the festivities on Sunday, August 21 at the JAM annual cultural day at the Lake Clifton Park, Baltimore, Maryland, beginning at noon.

 

By DERRICK SCOTT, JIS Reporter