The Full Story
The official launch of the Jamaica 60 Independence celebrations kicks off the season of celebratory activities to commemorate this national milestone.
The event was held Wednesday (April 13) on the lawns of Jamaica House, featuring cultural presentations, with special guests from the Republic of Rwanda representing the President, His Excellency Paul Kagame, who is on a State visit.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who officially launched the Jamaica 60 celebrations, said the theme of the Diamond Jubilee, ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness’, calls on all Jamaicans to take inspiration from the extraordinary achievements over the past 60 years and chart the course for the next 60 years and beyond.
“[This] means that we must not focus only on celebratory activities, but we must ensure that we foster and promote legacies of pride in self, commitment to national development, patriotism, excellence, mutual respect for others, and an openness to other cultures and peoples. Every sector must contribute, as that involvement and inclusivity benefits all,” he emphasised.
Notably, he said the Jamaican diaspora which is now larger than the domestic population, represents the “indomitable spirit and pride of Jamaica”.
The Jamaican diaspora in Canada officially launched its Jamaica 60 activities on March 26. Prime Minister Holness said over the next few weeks there will be similar launches in other areas where there is significant Jamaican representation. These include London, Birmingham, New York and South Florida.
There will be an extensive programme of activities during the Diamond Jubilee Year, which started on January 1 and will culminate on December 31.
Prime Minister Holness said these activities will focus on legacy projects to ensure there are lasting structures to commemorate this significant achievement.
The plan includes redevelopment of the National Stadium, creation of the Jamaica Sports Museum and the Jamaica Music Museum, the Usain Bolt/University of the West Indies (UWI) Sports Medicine Centre, and construction of the national parliament building.
These, he said, are major infrastructure projects that will lay the groundwork this year. Some will be completed within a two-to-five-year time frame.
Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, in her address said this is a time to “reflect and to redouble efforts towards building a Jamaica that will last”.
“Celebrations such as Jamaica 60 must include projects that will benefit our country for generations to come” she said.
Representing President Kagame, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, conveyed greetings and congratulations from the people of Rwanda to Jamaica, on realising its Diamond Jubilee of Independence.
“You have every reason to be proud of Jamaica’s many achievements over the last 60 years. We are very honoured to be here with you and to celebrate with you. We look forward to working with you through our bilateral cooperation to achieve more progress for the benefit of the people of Jamaica and the people of Rwanda,” he said.
Jamaica gained Independence on August 6, 1962 with full dominion status within the Commonwealth. Under the Constitution, the country retained the British monarch as head of State.