Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is praising the Jamaican people and her team, for the successful staging of celebratory activities to mark the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
The Minister, who was addressing a press conference on Aug. 15 at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, said Jamaica can be proud of the events held to mark the Golden Jubilee from August 1- 6, which demonstrated the country’s management and organizational skills and cultural excellence to the rest of the world.
“Jamaica, at 50, is a very blessed country and I think (we) can be very proud to showcase to the world that we are not only a country of cultural superstars, but we have the ability to be in control of our own destiny and… that we can represent ourselves at an international standard where people feel safe, where people feel proud, and we give the world what we have to offer in real time,” Minister Hanna said.
Events included the setting up of the Golden Jubilee Village at Independence Park, the establishment of parish villages and activities across the island; television broadcast linking Jamaica to its Diaspora in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States; and the Grand Gala, which brought the curtains down on the festivities.
Minister Hanna said the successful planning and execution of activities, at short notice, was a “team effort” and she was fulsome in her praise of the Jamaica 50 Secretariat, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the many volunteers, public and private sector entities, which united to make the events memorable.
Project Director of Jamaica 50, Robert Bryan, said he was pleased at how things unfolded, particularly at the Jubilee Village where “so many different Jamaicans from all over gathered together and existed in this space in almost a seamless manner. It was impossible to tell where anybody was from, and what they were doing before they came to the village. The entire atmosphere in this place was just awesome."
He noted that with the end of the celebratory period, “a lot more people are beginning to think about what the mission of the country is and what their personal mission is, and how they, as individuals, relate to the development of the country."
The Project Director also lauded the security team, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), noting that the events, which attracted large crowds, were for the most part “incident free."
Responding to questions about the budget, Mr. Bryan stated that the Secretariat will be able to pay for the massive celebration. “We expect that we will be able to pay our bills based on staying within the parameters of the planning (budget). …. We expect to be within the framework of the $688 million,” said Mr. Bryan.
He commended the “remarkable response” of the private sector and the energy that the companies brought to the events, even in the messages of their advertisements.
He said there were close to 26 sponsors by August 6, where at the end of March there was none. These sponsors brought in over $204 million, and the bulk of this money went to the JCDC.
There was special commendation for global sponsors Jamaica National, Wray and Nephew Ltd., CHASE Fund, National Housing Trust (NHT), Lime, Red Stripe and RJR Communications Group.
Other companies included National Commercial Bank (NCB), Jamaica Broilers, Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), Advantage General Insurance, Courts Jamaica Ltd., Airports Authority, Fidelity Motors, Innovative Signs, and Zoukie Trucking.