Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, says Jamaicans at home and abroad have been “resilient and strong” in the fight to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She was speaking at the Emancipation and Independence thanksgiving service held on Sunday (August 2) at the Portmore Church of God, South Edgewater in St Catherine.
The service was held under the 2020 Festival theme: ‘Resilient and Strong…Let’s Celebrate Jamaica 58’.
Minister Grange said that a people’s resilience is demonstrated by their ability to cope with stress and adversity and to bounce back to a previous state of normal functioning.
“We, without a doubt, have been proving ourselves capable of measuring up to what is required in the face of the pandemic. We have done much better than many of the large countries in the world,” she said, while urging Jamaicans not to hesitate to praise the Lord and to give thanks.
She hailed Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, for “leading the nation in a very powerful way to ensure that we can overcome.”
Meanwhile, Minister Grange said that the restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus “will not dampen our spirit and cannot stop us from celebrating our Emancipation and Independence anniversary with enthusiasm.”
She noted that the celebrations will be conducted in a “controlled environment and directed by the protocols that have been established.”
She is inviting Jamaicans to tune in to the live selection of the winner of the National Gospel Song Competition this evening (August 2) on CVM Television, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The event will be streamed live at www.jcdc.gov.jm and on Facebook @jamaicaculturaldevelopmentcommission.
The Culture Minister further urged Jamaicans to participate in this year’s Jamaica Spirit of Independence Competition by decorating buildings and public spaces in the national colours. The rules and guidelines for the competition are available on the JCDC’s website, www.jcdc.gov.jm
“We will have awards for the Best Decorated Business Office, the Best Decorated Private Residence, and the Best Decorated Parish Town Square,” she noted.
“There is no wrong or right way to decorate. Each competitor is encouraged to decorate using props and decorative materials doing as much as possible to draw the attention of the public,” she said.
Minister Grange is also encouraging the media to feature Jamaican music, talent and culture and to have discussions about Jamaica and its culture.
The Emancipation and Independence service was attended by national, civic and community leaders, headed by Prime Minister Holness; Custos of Kingston, Steadman Fuller, representing Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Patrick Allen; and Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South Eastern, Colin Fagan, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips.