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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The President enjoyed performances from the NDTC and the pulsating rhythms of the Jonathan Grant High School drummers.
  • The President took the stage with the ‘Fab Five’ group, after which he serenaded Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.
  • Minister Hanna took the time to assure the President of Jamaica’s commitment to working to enhance cultural cooperation.

President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly and his delegation, were on November 14 treated to an evening of true Jamaican culture and entertainment at an event hosted by the Office of Prime Minister.

The cultural evening was held at the Jamaica Pegasus’ ‘Top of the World,’ a rooftop venue overlooking the picturesque city of Kingston.

With the lights of the city shimmering in the distance, the President enjoyed performances from the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) and the pulsating rhythms of the Jonathan Grant High School drummers.
President Martelly, who was one of Haiti’s best-known singers and keyboardists before entering politics, showed off his vocal prowess, joining multi-talented singer, Charmaine Limonius on stage, during her performance of the Haitian song ‘Panama m’Tombe’.

The President again took the stage with the ‘Fab Five’ group, after which he serenaded Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, much to the delight of the audience.

Others enjoying the evening were: Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill; Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown; Mayor of Kingston, Senator the Hon. Angela Brown Burke; MVP Track Club President, Bruce James; Director General in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, Carole Guntley; members of the Haitian community; among others.

While it was not an occasion for speeches, Minister Hanna took the time to assure the President of Jamaica’s commitment to working to enhance cultural cooperation between the countries.

“Let us work closer together. Let us learn from each other and help each other to use our creative expressions to assist us to build a better future for both our nations,” she stated.

Minister Hanna said there is the opportunity to “build corridors for greater interaction” between the people of Jamaica and Haiti, who are joined by a common/similar history whilst separated by unfamiliar tongues.

“Our ability to reconstruct our future must first begin by reconstructing our own approaches, our dialogue and acceptance that we will need the force of togetherness to get the job done.

“Regardless of who we are, where we come from and our size, our desires must be driven by the universal purpose grounded in empathy and love to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” she stated.

Haitian national Rev. Dr. Maxo Dejanis, who was among the guests, said he was delighted that his President is in Jamaica.

A resident in Jamaica for some 22 years, he told JIS News that he and his family had journeyed from their home in Ocho Rios to visit Mr. Martelly while he is in the island.

He noted that even though the language barrier proved to be a difficulty when he came to the island over two decades ago, both countries share similar cultures, which can be built on.

President Martelly and his 11-member delegation will depart Jamaica on November 15 after a three-day State Visit, where he participated in talks on a range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues with Mrs. Simpson Miller and members of the Cabinet, heads of executive agencies and the private sector.

The Haitian Leader’s schedule of activities included a visit to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Jamaica Broilers in St Catherine. He also laid a wreath at the monument of Venezuelan liberator Simon Bolivar and met with members of the Haitian community in Jamaica.