KINGSTON — Plans are in high gear for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence next year, says Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon Olivia Grange.
Speaking to JIS News following her presentation at the Heads of Mission meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, Monday June 27, Miss Grange said the yearlong celebrations will run from December 31, 2011 to December 31, 2012 and will include a number of activities being celebrated on a larger magnitude than in previous years.
She said that the Government was ensuring that the celebrations are not just confined to Jamaica, but are linked into the Jamaican Diaspora.
“We want them to buy into what we are doing, while providing us with information on what they are doing and to provide templates of activities, so that we can have a structured programme right across (the board),” she said.
She pointed out that a number of manufactured collectibles will be made, celebrating the anniversary, including a box set of the Festival Songs over the years, which she described as a “priceless collection of songs”.
There will also be publications on aspects of Jamaican life, culture, education and agriculture, as well as documentaries relating to Jamaica’s history and development in sports and highlighting the successes, she said.
“The celebrations will reflect on the past, we will highlight what is happening and where we go in the future,” the minister explained.
Other manufactured collectibles include stamps, gold coins and the introduction of special monetary notes, among others.
Miss Grange pointed out that the objective is to look at both “tangible and intangible projects”.
“We are looking at legacy projects, we are looking at celebratory events. We will celebrate our art, academic and all aspects of Jamaican life, both for the young and the old,” she said.
She stated that the media launch for the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th will immediately follow the celebration of the 49th year of independence this year, adding that there will also be a series of launches throughout the Diaspora
Consultant on Major Cultural Events in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and member of the Jamaica 50th Committee, Lenford Salmon, said the celebrations will be much bigger and better and will not be limited to the Corporate Area.
He said it will provide a platform to define the nation’s cultural personality and its achievements for all of its citizens.
Mr. Salmon said that some of the legacy projects will include the establishment of early childhood foundations, establishment of a national playground at Hope Gardens, renovation of the Ward Theatre and the reintroduction of civics in schools.
Nineteen Heads of Mission and other representatives were present at the session. Jamaica will mark 50 years of political independence from British rule on August 6, 2012.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter