MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange has called on Jamaicans to embrace the principles of unity, self-determination and love, and to decide on the role that each has to play in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.
"As we mark the international year for people of African descent and as we celebrate Emancipation, let us reflect on our journey as a people. It has been a journey of struggles and triumphs; and it is a continuous journey with many rivers to cross and many victories still to be won,” Ms. Grange said.
The Minister was addressing a large gathering at Emancipation Jubilee 2011, held in St. Ann on July 31.
The event, staged by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), was held at the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann’s Bay under the theme: ‘Let the drums talk’.
"As a government, we have been taking steps to deepen the relationship with our brothers and sisters in Africa by facilitating cultural exchanges, people to people interaction as well as the development of trade and business linkages,” Ms. Grange said.
She congratulated the JNHT for their effort to highlight the African retention in the country’s heritage through the annual staging of Emancipation Jubilee, noting that the theme is befitting as the use of the drums as a tool and expression of emancipation was well documented.
"This is our time to celebrate the achievements of our people; let us be inspired by the great men and women who fought for and won our freedom. Let us honour them by ensuring that we do all we can to complete their work by becoming the great people, the great nation and the great country that we were meant to be,” she said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Arts and Culture for the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Paul Mashatile said that he was pleased to be participating in the Emancipation Jubilee at Seville and Jamaica’s Emancipation at large.
"It is our view that culture and heritage are central to the objectives of nation building, promoting national healing and social cohesion as well as ensuring the economic prosperity of our people. As we take part in this Emancipation Jubilee, we are reminded of our ancestors and most importantly, we honour their sacrifices and we celebrate their freedom” Mr. Mashatile said.
He noted that January 08, 2012 should see the oldest liberation movement in Africa, the African National Congress (ANC), celebrating 100 years and extended an invitation to Jamaicans to join in the centenary celebrations of the ANC next year.
“As we will be celebrating the centenary of the ANC, we will also celebrate with you, the Fiftieth Anniversary of your independence. Let the bond of friendship and solidarity that was cemented during the struggle for liberation in South Africa inspire us to work together towards the objective of building a better and more humane world,” he said.
Others in attendance were: Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Hon. Othneil Lawrence; Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Shahine Robinson, who represented Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding; the Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency, Peter Oyodele and Mrs. Oyodele.
Mrs. Robinson read the Prime Minister’s Emancipation Day message and commended the JNHT for staging Emancipation Jubilee.
By ALDEEN CAMPBELL, JIS Reporter