TORONTO — High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith is proposing that 2012 be declared the ‘Year of Jamaica in Canada’.
Speaking recently to a group of Jamaican business persons at the Consulate General in Toronto, the High Commissioner said the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence in 2012 is a very important milestone for the country and all Jamaicans, and she would like every Canadian to be aware of it, especially since the presence and contribution of Jamaicans to Canada are worthy of celebration.
Mrs. Sealy Monteith encouraged businesses to join with the rest of the Jamaican community as partners in marking the occasion, as their companies are integral to the history and presence of Jamaicans in Canada. They have not only contributed to the local economy, but also supported the community, noted the High Commissioner.
The Jamaican envoy also suggested ways the businesses could brand their products to celebrate the event, such as having special commemorative products and services, advertising jingles, souvenirs and product naming.
Each city in Canada with many Jamaican residents has committees busily planning its own set of Jamaica 50 activities, which all fall under the auspices of the High Commission. Mrs. Sealy Monteith suggested the companies sponsor activities and events of the Jamaica 50 Committees.
On April 12, Toronto will be the first Canadian city to launch its Jamaica 50 activities at Toronto City Hall, while the Ottawa group will launch its 2012 activities in July. The National Launch of Jamaica 50 activities in Canada is expected to take place in March 2012 in the Canadian capital.
Among the plans to commemorate the 50th Anniversary across Canada is the introduction of ‘The High Commissioner’s Award for Jamaica 50’, to be presented to “an individual whose contribution is worthy of recognition." The awardees will be identified from major Canadian cities with large numbers of Jamaicans.
Mrs. Sealy Monteith reiterated the importance of having a legacy impact, meaning the celebrations must go beyond 2012 and set the stage for the next 50 years.
“The impact should also find expression in our young people and they should be a part of the process. Some suggestions include monuments, social programmes, bursaries and scholarships,” she said.
The year 2012 also marks 50 years of established diplomatic relations between Canada and Jamaica.
“We’re going to have commemorative events peculiar to that occasion that will be held in Ottawa in September 2012,” noted the High Commissioner.
High Commissioner Sealy Monteith is encouraging persons to visit the website at: www.jamaica50.ca to learn more about what is taking place in Canada.
The companies present included Air Jamaica, Appleton Rum, GraceKennedy, Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica National, Juici Patties, Rapid Remittance, Victoria Mutual and Western Union.
By CAROLYN GOULBOURNE-WARREN, JIS Reporter